[cdt-l] Some post-CDT thoughts

Paul Magnanti pmags at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 4 16:25:10 CST 2006


First, thanks for all the congrats I've received. Been
part of this community now for about a decade now.
Have received much appreciated advice, encouragement
and good wishes over the years. Many, many thanks!

Second, hope no one minds the ramblings. :D Tend to
enjoy writing publically (helps me organize my own
thoughts), and think the thoughts may useful for not
just the CDT but for any long trail.

On to my ramblings...

As mentioned previously, the CDT for me was the most
challenging, difficult and frustrating of the three
trails. The isolation at times, the route finding, the
rough edges.

But, it was indeed the most rewarding. A trail where I
saw a grizzly bears in the wild, heard wolves. Being
on top of Temple Pass in the Winds one glorious
morning. Standing on the ridge on Montana ans Idaho
and seeing NOTHING around except the mountains.

The rawness, intensity and wildness is what makes the
trail so rewarding. Felt as if I was forging my own
path (even with maps andguidebooks). Was misplaced
enough where sometimes I did feel like I was forging
my own path. :D 

Originally, said it was my favorite of the three
trails. Now? Well, hard to really choose a favorite
Think all three had something that made me like them
all for different reasons.

The CDT already mentioned.

Hiking the AT was like my first serious relationship.
Full of passion and energy. Every day was something
totally new to me. Took lessons from that experience
still carry with me.  Found the AT to be the most
physically difficult (terrain, heavier pack, worse
overall weather, inexperience). 

The PCT is where I truly felt comfortable for the
first time with thru-hiking. Knowing this is what I
indeed want to do. The 10 days in the High Sierra is
still the overall highpoint in my backpacking
"career". The PCT is perhaps the "happy medium" for
the three trails/. Wild in places, easy to get
solitude or companionship as needed, easy tread,
overall great weather.  A trail made for end to end
hikes.  Most importantly, it is where I made
friendships still strong over four years later.


As I settle into what my buddy D-low aptly  calls
"domestication", thinking of why these long journeys
are done. Not just for the physical challenge, or the
adventure or being immersed in nature. It is for all
these facets and more. For the journey itself. All the
challenges, joys, experiences.

Crossing the divide this year, and being a bit of a
history buff, think of the the divide crossing that
happened 200 years ago: The Lewis and Clark
Expedition.  In his journal, Lewis wrote: "As we
passsed on, it seemed those scences of visionary
enchantment would never have an end".   And I think
that is why many "repeat offenders" do these long
hikes...to see more scences of enchantment. 

Finally (yeah...goes the crowd. :D), was asked a few
times if this completion of the CDT makes me a "Triple
Crowner" . Yep.

Don't feel esp. "hard core". Feel lucky.  Not once, or
twice but three times now to see this country on foot
for months at a time. The US really is extraordinary
in its diversity and beauty. 

Wild horses in Wyoming. The craggy peaks of northern
New England. Thick forests of the southern
Appalachians. The sheer remoteness of Montana.  Crater
Lake at sunrise. The unique combination of the raw and
the sublime of the High Sierra.

All scenes of wonder for ever etched in my memory. All
scenes of enchantment. With any luck, will experience
more scenes of enchantment in the future...

Enough waxing poetic, for now. ;-)

Mags


************************************************************
The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust 
caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched
--Thoreau
http://www.magnanti.com



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