Archive for August 31st, 2006

Destination: N/Huckleberry trail
Starting Location: Timberline Lodge Today’s Miles: 21.50
Trip Miles: 2066.30
Timberline Loge (2,107.3, 5940) to N/Huckleberry Trail (2,128.8, 4068) Ascent (3,599) Descent (5499)

Timberline Lodge turned out to be a special stop and provided a needed diversion from the realities of recent trail life. We enjoyed a great buffet breakfast and enjoyed pots of coffee served by a staff who were particularly friendly as we grazed for 90 minutes.

Yesterday’s drizzly weather gave way to an absolutely stunning day today. Mount Hood beamed with a dusting of early season snow. We could see as far south as the Three Sisters (likely 100 miles away) and looking north we saw spectacular volcanoes who shapes we have yet to recognize.

Talked to a respected friend today who pointed out that walking 2,650 miles in two seasons is still walking 2,650 miles. He also pointed out that “If I needed to be a hero, he understood that as well.” Given that I cringed at those words I know he hit a cord and realized herodom is a factor. I have often fantasized that by far the best way to go out would be as a hero – even if only in my own mind. I have also feared the idea of living a safe life safe while never really going for it. Sure I have had a lot of professional good fortune, but I can honestly say that I have never really swung for the fence. Rather, I worked really hard and always held some in reserve. This hike is different as I have given it everything I have. If I make it, I will be my own hero because I know I finally swung all the way. If I quit now – today I could not say that. Sure I have given it everything thus far, but unless I am absolutely incapable of continuing it will mean (to me) I checked my swing late in the game. I do not want to do this, I must not do this. There are only two options – make it, or go down swinging. Period. Some family and friends have expressed concerns that regarding “at what price.” I cannot answer that, but I can say we are not there yet.
Camped in a hole next to a spring and boy I am glad we are down low. The wind is blowing a gale in the tree tops a few hundred feet above and the noise is getting pretty intense. Pine needles are blowing into the tent and it sounds like heavy rain falling. Weather is wild and makes me feel alive.


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