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Archive for June 20th, 2007

Charlotte Lake: along the PCT

Beautiful morning in the Sierra Nevada. Air temperature dropped into the high 30’s last evening and sleeping in the fetal position felt so warm and secure. The Nutcrackers are going wild as they have found our camp and begging from us is likely easier than foraging for their own food. The contrast from 2006 is amazing and demonstrates fully that the way things were are not the way things are. There is virtually no snow and I am camped at over 7,500 ft. Last year nearly everything above 9,000ft was solid snow; last year I was happily married. It is good to reflect on this and recognize that Siddhartha had it right regarding the impermanence of all things. Yesterday we met a dozen thru-hikers and most seemed to be really great people which are consistent with our experience last year. Thunder posed and interesting question however: “Where we as self absorbed as these hikers seem to be”. At the time it did not seem like we were but upon further reflection I believe we were. Everywhere we went we talked about us, our hike, our experience. When we finished we continued the trend -yes we were just like that, still are likely.

One aspect of recovering as a thru-hiker for me has been the idea or question of “what next” or more precisely “how do I top that?”. That line of questioning, I am finding, is detrimental and yet that is 100% how I have lived my life up to this point – always the bigger challenge. And as my dear friend Michael pointed out, “…you basically use one tool for all jobs, and that tool is a hammer.” At first I tap a bit with a finish hammer. If that does not work I keep moving to bigger and bigger hammers and I swing harder and harder. Or as I realized recently, if I hit a dead end with a barricade instead of turning around and looking for a better path, I simply pour on more fuel and push my way through regardless of the consequences. You know outwardly I would likely be described as successful, however adding more force does not always make for good relationships.
At our presentation the other night, RT and I joked that “he got a divorce and went for a hike, while I went for a hike and got a divorce, and 3 gallon went for a hike and fell in love”. I tried to give a lot of support to Thunder last year as he worked through his divorce. That experience has helped me work through my own suffering – how is that a coincidence …..it’s not. We also joked, well sorta joked, that we were both now single and could be contacted via our journals. The next morning, Ms. Michael- our host, commented that there were 2 messages on her and Joe’s answering machine and in one message the women was panting. God it is good to laugh at oneself and it beats the hell out of crying.

RT and go-BIG Daddy think I need a “transitional” woman. Wrong. I actually still want to be married to my wife thus requiring I need to work through the fact that I am not, and maybe even learn some of the life lessons you can only learn when your ego is sufficiently deflated to render you teachable. Dating would only hasten the recovery of such ego and I would likely stop learning again….I am like that. So, call me in 6 months.

Rae lakes

Scout, Frodo , Sean, and Thunder showed up right on schedule and we had a reunion complete with tales of wonderful times from last year and new adventures that are currently unfolding.

Dad was feeling strong so we decided to hike over to Rae lakes. It was great as we leisurely strolled the ~ 5 miles in ~5 hours. Scout and I had a chance to catch up and compare notes on life’s challenges and working through them. One thing I have learned in the last several months is that if you want people to relate to you on a deeply personal level you must take the risk and open up your personal life to them. It is ironic that I have always kept people at a distance thinking I was protecting myself from being hurt – only to realize that wall of protection will ultimately fall on you and boy will it hurt when it does. So I am taking more risk but by doing so may actually be taking less.

A pose of thru-hikers came in and Thunder dispensed “biscuits”. Why would anyone call a cookie a biscuit? I forgot how fast trail lore moves up and down the trail but was reminded when the group said they had heard about a guy with a huge pack handing out tangerines – Thunder while hiking in over Kearsarge.
Déjà vu as Scout reads from his journal – flashbacks to Oregon where Thunder and I shared our journals with Scout and Frodo when they provided us their very special trail magic. The gift of returning the favor has been a gift in and of itself.

More mosquitoes here then we saw in all of 2006 – Deet works but I hate climbing into my bag with that stuff on.Tomorrow is hike naked day; something I would never consider previously, but times they are a changing and we will see.

3 months ago I was retired, moving to Mt. Shasta, and married. Now, I am working again, living in a one bedroom apartment, and getting a divorce – still hard to fathom that. When we decided to divorce I figured it would be good to keep the lawyers (no offence Barney) out of it and I hoped Liz felt the same way. I decided however that I should at least consult an attorney just to make sure I was on the right track. I went to a highly regarded law firm and while in the waiting room overheard the paralegal advising a client to have the house reappraised because the market had gone down. And she said that George (the attorney I was about to see) recommended that he not cut the grass for a few weeks and let the place go to hell in order to get a lower appraisal and thus have to split less with his wife; then after the divorce he could clean the place back up, sell it and beat her out of some of the proceeds. I almost walked out right then but instead sat through the consult and listened to more of this insane (this is why the system is broken) crap. Disgusting, and no way to treat the person I had spend 16 wonderful years with. We ultimately settled our affairs in 30 days without any of that crap….I am really glad I told I said no thank you to the proposed option but rather followed my core beliefs. Yes I ended up with 1/2 of what we had before, yes I was somewhat resentful about that, and yet I am so glad that law firm got not one penny.

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