Sun Sets On The PCT

07 Oct Sun Sets On The PCT


It was over so fast. And in the blink of an eye, a month has passed since I left the Pacific Crest Trail.

Everyday since has been both great and empty at the same time. The trail gave me a clear goal at the same time as giving me absolute liberty and absolute control. I had direction. I had only to ensure I was fed, got water, and remained free of injury. I’d wake and decide how far I wanted to walk. I’d reevaluate as the day progressed. I’d move fast when I felt good. I’d stop when I tired. How easy and simple that life was. My natural motivation was brimming over at the end of the trip. I’d wake with the energy to start walking at 5:45am and not stop until 8pm. And yet, I had nowhere to go. Nothing to walk towards. No path to follow. That, for me, created a lot of anxiety. An inability to be content just sitting. An inability to rest and be happy resting.

Still, this is with me. I’ve scrambled to fill my time, to stay active, to continue an adventure that feeds me the same way the trail did. And, in the last month, I went wine tasting in British Columbia, I’ve hiked another trail, driven over 3000 miles looking for a place to live, met old friends in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. It has been a great time. Yet, all the while, that anxiety hid and urged me to keep moving to not stop.

Alas, now it is time to stop. To reflect and solidify what has happened. To tie a bow on that experience and that journey. To start the next journey with no baggage and no strings attached. For those that followed my journey and want more adventure, this may not interest you. For now, it is important for me to both apologize to and thank many people.

First, I apologize. I apologize to those that feel I didn’t write enough about them. I was very conscious not to write too much about other folks. I never wanted anyone to feel as if I betrayed their trust or exposed something they felt was private. Therefore, my writings of others on the trip is sparse. That is contrary to how I felt though. It is not an indication of the depth of my connection or interaction with those people. On the contrary, I had some of the deepest and most meaningful connections I can recall with people on the trail. I’ve made lifetime friends and have a host of unforgettable and touching memories with all of them. In the same vein, I do apologize if I’m written about someone in a way that exposes more than they are comfortable with.

I also apologize if my tone or opinions were upsetting to anyone. I can see how in many cases my tone was cocky, insensitive, angry, or another negatively perceived emotion. As my first real foray into blogging, I have learned a lot already about how perhaps sharing your true emotions or opinions takes certain tact and certain considerations. It is easy to say things in a blog that are harder to say in person. I’ve had to learn to evaluate why that is and what is important to consider in both cases. I can’t apologize for having my emotions or opinions as that would be dishonest to myself. Yet, I can and do apologize for deciding to share certain ones that may have reflected on others or judged other people in a negative way.

I also apologize in advance for forgetting to mention you in my thanks below. If we crossed paths on the trail, know that your interaction helped me in some way. You no doubt helped me in my journey. Even if I have forgotten your name, your conversation certainly brightened my day and dissolved my solitude.

Many Thanks To:
– Birdman for being the best companion I could have asked for.
– Yardsale for reminding me that in youth is plenty of wisdom.
– Lalabi for trusting me and being an ear.
– Greenmile for ensuring my last steps were full of joy, laughter, and friendship.
– Lucky Winner for your companionship over the last week and your help keeping me happy and sane upon my reentry to real world.
– Laptop, Feather, Leftovers, Sailor Moon, Ice Queen, Dinner Time, Ninja Tank, Travis, Bambi and U-Turn for all the laughs. You kept my chuckling all the way to Canada.
– Samba, Teliwa, Gumbi, DoubleIt, Texas Grit, Cowgirl, and Midnight Chocolate for the birthday wishes (or for sharing your birthday treats).
– Cecil The Green, Grease, Long Legs, Jorge and Happy for helping me down the homestretch with rally calls and hearty laughs.
– Beads, Kiddo, and Lint for including me in your inner circles and being great hikers.
– All the water cache suppliers.
– Ziggy and the Bear, Andersons, Saulfleys, Dinsmores, Shrek, Kara at the Mostel, Dan at Aardvark, Bill at the Red Moose, and all others who opened their homes in one way or another.
– My good friends Mark James, Kari Sims, Martino and Sarah, Keri Lyle, Jesse and Claire House, Kevin O’Heir, Richard Harding, Kelly and Chance, and Josh Cherner, for visiting me or letting me visit along the way.
– The barber, George, in Ashland for the free haircut.
– Sierra for throwing dirty hikers a BBQ.
– Meadow Ed, Yogi, Jackalope, and Bear Bate for magic at Walker Pass.
– My folks for endless support, sending my maps to me, and your visits along the way.
– Anyone who commented here or elsewhere with words of encouragement. It meant the world.
– Anyone who bought me a beer, gave me a soda, or shared a good smile or conversation with me on or off trail. There were so many and, although brief, so appreciated.

Thank you, All. I hope you continue to read and enjoy my thoughts and stories.

  • Mamasonski
    Posted at 17:45h, 07 October

    Oh, you know, I will be there on the blog, on the trail or at the end of the phone line. Just wish it and I will support it! Love you, Cowboy! Mama Sonski

  • Matt
    Posted at 09:50h, 08 October

    I’m still unhappy you’re done. Damn it.

  • Chase
    Posted at 18:53h, 08 October

    Matt, I apologize for being done. 🙂

  • KJ
    Posted at 19:14h, 08 October

    No apologies necessary, Cowboy. This was YOUR experience and I’m thankful you chose to share it with us so purely and honestly, in whatever way YOU wanted to. Just because a moment or a name didn’t make it to the page doesn’t mean it was unappreciated or forgotten. Please don’t listen to criticism… this blog is freaking brilliant.

  • Corpus
    Posted at 14:55h, 09 October

    I’m still so jealous of your trip! It looks like an amazing experience. Any chance we’ll see you down here in Southern California again anytime soon? I would love to sit and talk about it all with you! Cheers, my friend!

  • Krissy
    Posted at 17:47h, 13 October

    Just binge read many blog entries-too worried and crazy to read over the summer! You remind me of a tender hearted and footed Hemingway. Incredibly articulate insights into the Real Yoga Practice. Thank you and welcome back Chase! You were often in my thoughts as I was walking under the trees, breathing the prana filled air. So thankful that you found the time, space and mindfulness you were looking for. Now you can bring your whole self to Right Now! What a powerful lesson and contribution you have given us through each thoughtful step! Keep on trucking Cowboy! I can mend you at the end of the trail , one breath at a time!

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