Due to that revelation, I’ve tried to reach out to others over the years to help them find what I found along this glorious and challenging trail.
In 1982, it was the fledgling wilderness school called, “Mariah Mountaineering,” that sent direct mailings and offered classes to aspiring hikers. (There was no internet, yet).
By the time I discovered Greg “Strider” Hummel’s, Annual Day Zero, Pacific Crest Trail Kickoff (ADZPCTKO) held every year down at Lake Morena, CA, to celebrate and applaud the new thru-hikers just starting out, the school’s name had been changed to, “Mountain Education,” and I found that, by attending for the weekend, there really were other people who felt drawn by the excitement and mystique of the trail experience.
So, after nearly 10 years of teaching PCT Safety Presentations at the KO and offering on-trail snow skills courses, I had finally found an audience that was interested in what I had to say about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
Chief in their comments were, always, two primary questions,
How? (followed by…)
Thus, the book you’ve all be waiting for me to write, the compilation of mountain stories from 50 years of life hiking or teaching in and on two different mountain ranges in the United States, the Sierra/Cascade and the Continental Divide, will be complete with explanations of “Why” and “How!”
We learn best by doing. Some call this, “Experiential Learning,” which has been the basis of all that Mountain Education has taught over the past 40 years, but some like to learn in a less immersive way, by reading the stories of those experiences through which I learned the ways of the wilderness that changed my life.
That is what you will get, a book of very personal mountain stories lived 1) over 50 years to illustrate that the spirit of wilderness does, indeed, lovingly draw us into its arms to heal our tired souls (answering the “Why” question), 2) over 40 years teaching and explaining to willing, but often stubborn generations, the practical “how-to” of extended wilderness life.
There are plenty of books out there extolling the wisdom of one person’s mountain experiences learned over one or two journeys with the hopes that you’ll do the same, but this one will be different.
Through storytelling, I will paint the romance of falling in love with wilderness over a typical thru-hike’s 5 months on-trail, how to make your journey go safely and smoothly, then, explain the reasons why things in the wilderness world go the way they go and work the way they work.
Part of Mountain Education’s new website will be this book, laid out by chapter and topic, so aspiring thru-hikers can know what they are getting themselves into and how to have a safe, fun, and satisfying wilderness experiences of their own when their day on-trail comes.
It will all be free for you to chew on and come to your own conclusions as to how you wish to live in the arms of wilderness.