I have thruhiked the Cheryl Strayed Highway – from Mexico to Canada – three states – five national monuments, six national parks, five state parks, seven BLM field offices, twenty-five national forests, forty-eight federal wilderness areas – 4270km – hikertrash for life.
Eighteen days of rain in the desert. Thirty in the PNW. Snowstorms in the Mojave. And the Sierras. And the Cascades. Ice storms. Thunderstorms. Windstorms. Wildfires. Water crossings. Water carries. Single-digit cold. Triple-digit heat. Postholing. Hitchhiking. Weeks of mosquitoes. Weeks of isolation. Weeks of hiking with the best people in the world.
Thank you Archimedes. Thank you Woodpecker. Thank you Raspberry. You are the smartest and the strongest and the kindest and it was just a joy to hike with you. I love you, and I miss you, a lot.
Thank you Tortilla, Big Momma, Yay, Jaws, Shewee, Flick. Thank you Watercolor, Doodles, Kez, Hoops, Pigeon. Thank you Hikerbox, Pigeon, Battleplan. Thank you Tuna and Calypso. Thank you Baguette. See e.g. Henry V, Act IV, Scene III.
Thank you Gigs, Spiderlegs, Lubos and Terezia, Lubos and Terezia, Columbia, Cheesegrater, Posh David, Shellac, The Three Sisters, Dixie, Second Chance, Hot Ham, Jellyfish, Small Furry Animal, Cheeks, Cheeks, GinGin and EdBeard, Cotton and Chicadee, Joe Dirt, Itamar, G-Wag, Joelle, Skypilot, Redfeather, Alpaca, Melon, Poppins, Randy, Versace, Scav and Merchant, Mantra, Bluebird, Jackson, Famke, Coach and 12-Pack, Lady Bling, Roxie and Perrie, Viking, Elfo, Dish, Caveman, Merlin, everyone who recognized me from the Fight For Together videos, everyone who remembered me from the AT or saw my name in an intentions-book on the TA, and the dozens of people that I know that I’m forgetting, and the people who I met for just a day or an hour or a moment’s gam by the trailside.
Thank you to everyone who gave me a place to crash: Christie, Lynn and Malie, Terrie Anderson, Donna & Jeff Saufley, Jan, Nancy, Kim, Arielle, Tatiana, Evan, Ethery, Niterider Dave, Margaret, Stephen, Dana and Rob. Thank you everyone who gave this tramper a hitch or a hot meal or a helping hand. So long and thanks for all the water caches.
Thank you to my family. Thank you to my friends who have entirely stopped asking when I’m going to stop hiking. Thank you to my friends from other trails who kept reaching out to me. I really hope I get to hike with you again. Or, failing that, zero on your couch :-)
Thank you PCT. Thank you for the cacti in bloom, for the orange sea of poppies, for the josh trees, for the wildflowers, for the beargrass, for the burn zones, for the bristlecones under the ancient pines. Thank you for the birdsongs at dawn and the silence at dusk. Thank you for the thunderstorms that merged over Castle Crags like something out of Brütal Legend. Thank you for the milkshakes in Seiad Valley before we climbed 2000m in 40C heat… and thank you for the radler we packed out for the summit. Thank you for the Altra footprints on the snow that let me keep to the trail when my phone died halfway through a 24-hour challenge. Thank you for the eighteen hikerboxes at MTR that left me exiting the Sierras with something like two days of food left. Thank you for those two times where I was absolutely shattered and just needed a real bed to sleep in and the only rooms available had 4 beds… and both times Hikerbox, Battleplan, and Pigeon showed up and crashed with me. Thank you for the pizza delivery to the public bathrooms outside the ranger station. Thank you for the Red Bull And Vodka DEATH MARCH on the Hat Creek Rim – the 90s danceparty, the breaks to stargaze, the two hours we spent debating Medicare For All and the twenty minutes we spent lost in the scrub looking for the trail, and how we laughed so hard we peed ourselves so many times that we hiked the last few miles pantsless, it was one of the best nights of my entire life. Thank you for the time I hiked all day and all night to catch my friends, and when I caught them at dawn it was shining and wonderful… and then they wanted to keep hiking, so my first 24-hour turned into a 36. Thank you to that time I hiked in nighthiking but boxer shorts for… oh… 1400KM. Thank you for the moscato-fueled 10AM yoga practice in Hawaiian shirts behind Casa de Luna. Thank you for the helihitch down King’s Canyon and the ATV ride down Sierra Buttes. Thank you for the club on Hollywood and Vine, the cocktails by the Tahoe shore, steppin out on the Vegas Strip while casino security eyed my iceaxe most skeptically. Thank you for the howling windstorm when I cowboyed at the edge of a cliff over Coachella. Thank you for the big fluffy snowflakes on the run to the northern border. Thank you for that afternoon where the sun went behind the mountains and left me cold in darkness, but after hours of climbing I was suddenly above the mountains, and the sun was shining again, and it kept me warm as I climbed to the summit and watched the sun set over the Sierras.
Good luck to the class of 2020 and beyond. Keep choochin. Keep smoochin. Kia kaha cuz the trail won’t hike itself.
And when all is said and done, on this we can all agree:
Mayor Max for President.
PCT class of 2019
…dolla dolla billz yall