Wednesday, December 01, 2010

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 45

During the summer of 2006, Daniel and I went to Oregon for a 2-week vacation. We spent time visiting one of my college roommates and her family before embarking on a tour of the state. We camped at Mt. Hood, visited Crater Lake, climbed South Sister, toured a lava tube, rode ATVs on 400-ft sand dunes and camped on the coast. We had a blast.

En route to Oregon I browsed books at the airport and picked out A Blistered Kind of Love by Angela and Duffy Ballard. It is the story of one couple's journey hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail {PCT}. It is a humorous glimpse of life on the trail and the effects that long-distance hiking had on a blossoming romance. 

I reread it as part of my 52 Books experiment. I enjoyed being reminded about our trip out West as well as reading about a through hike. That summer, in Oregon, I was all set to go hike the PCT for our next big adventure. Obviously that didn't happen, but I would like to do a through hike of a long-distance trail sometime in my life {#93 on my life list}.

Excerpts from the book:
Thirst, fear and pain will greet you on the PCT, and like a good ol' pair of leather boots stuffed with callused, hoof-like feet, they'll stay with you until you've been thoroughly broken in.

The symptoms {of being 'mileage crazy'} may lead to obsessively placing more importance on how many miles are traveled than on the real reason for traveling... On foot, in a van, on a fleet motorcycle or on a bicycle, a person must be very careful not to become overly concerned with arriving.

"People believe that if they walk long distances to holy places it purifies the bad deeds they've committed. They believe that the more difficult the journey, the greater the depth of purification." – Heinrich Harrer {Brad Pitt's character in Seven Years in Tibet}
Perhaps this line captured a quiet agenda... of all us aspiring through hikers.

... to many of us trapped in the ethos of a youth-centric culture, thirty comes on like a death sentence. Rational minds recognize that not much changes between twenty-nine and thirty, but it's a turning point none the less. No more excuses – when you hit thirty, it's for real.

Walking for a living gives you a lot of time to think. Take that time, mix it with a little deprivation and physical strain, add a splash of the type of peace one can find in the wilderness, and you get a special perspective on life.

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