Ballard and Walker: PCT Thru-Hikers
August 12, 2000Day 97Mile 1721Callahan's (12 miles outside Ashland, Oregonyes, we're finally in Oregon)Angela's Diary: I barely heard the engine before I heard the beautiful words: "Climb on in."
Babs was driving a camel Jeep Cherokee which, clashed with her Hollywood hot-pink lipstick. We Pines were in the midst of another sweltering road-walk in search of a fully hydrated and preferably protein-rich meal, but that's not the point.
"I saw you two from my porch and said to my husband, "Humph. He's not even walking with her. I should pick her up."
Duffy was listening to a San Francisco Giants game and was so far ahead of me he didn't notice my successful hitch, which was perfect for Babs' plan.
"Now, when we drive by him, you just smile and wave," she whispered.
Like many non-long distance hikers, Babs was horrified that Lodgepole and I do not always walk within shouting distance of each other, let alone hand-in-hand. But honestly, the legs of a 5'4"-er just can't always keep up with those belonging to a 6'4" basketball player. (His trail name isn't Lodgepole for nothing, you know.)
At first, I hated the growing distance between us. So much so, I tried desperately to keep pace. Usually I succeeded only in sucking a great deal of wind while swallowing my pride and begging (with an often unheard holler) for a rest.
"I could fall off a cliff and you'd never notice," I'd later whine. Or, mid-pant, I might exclaim "It's not a race to Canada." Duffy would just roll his eyes and remind me that he always stopped to wait for me and that if I didn't show up within a reasonable amount of time he'd backtrack to make sure a bear hadn't renamed me "lunch."
It probably took me 600 miles to become comfortable with our different hiking speeds and stop playing "Catch Duffy." And when I did, something wonderful happened. Not only did I give my lungs a break, but I also started to have a much more enjoyable hike. Now, I know some of my women friends back home may feel outraged for me. Many is the time one particular buddy has complained that when she sees a couple jogging together the man often takes the leadperhaps as an affirmation of his masculinity. But a long-distance hike is not a pleasant jaunt through Central Park. And while I haven't experienced this firsthand, I am told that it is as uncomfortable to trek at a slower-than-natural pace as it is to speed up. And with blisters, shredded muscle fibers, stubbed toes, and bruised hips, who needs to be plagued with another discomfort for 2600 miles?
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Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication