The Hurricane is approaching!
I met Hurricane in South Tahoe while I was off the Pacific Crest Trail for resupply in 2010. He lives in New Zealand, and the PCT was his first experience of long distance backpacking. Hurricane and I stayed in the same crappy motel in Chester, then shared a room in Etna, California. We ate restaurant meals and hiked together for several days, before he stepped on the gas and left me in the dust. The last time I saw him he was using a thrift store aluminum cane to support his ailing knee. But he cranked up to 30 mile days and made it, along with a reputation for being the PCT Class of 2010’s Mr Angry.
In 2011, to everyone’s amazement, Hurricane struck out from the Mexican border on another thru hike, this time on The Continental Divide Trail. He lasted just a month, when sickness, bad water sources, and broiling heat sent him packing.
Somewhere between May of 2011 and the present Hurricane went back and completed a solo thru- hike of the 800 mile Arizona Trail. From the Arizona trail web site ” Some complete the trail from south to north, and others from north to south, all typically choosing spring or fall as the best time. Desert heat makes the summers too dangerous, and winter snow pack makes many areas almost impassable. All who complete portions or the entire trail do their homework; researching passages and access points, caching food and water, researching maps, guidebooks, and GPS coordinates, researching water sources and communities along the trail, honing their route finding abilities, following itineraries, and many keep journals and photographic records of their journeys to share their once-in-a-lifetime-experience.” Hurricane did none of this preparation, and he doesn’t keep a trail journal.
Last night I received a phone call from Hurricane, who is back in the USA, in Georgia- this time attempting a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. He had been hiking for just 4 days and was just about to reach North Carolina today, averaging 20 miles per day. He’s passing everybody, despite telling me he is 40 pounds heavier than when he reached Manning Park in Canada in 2010. He also said he’s out of shape, and that knee surgery to repair his ailing knee was unsuccessful, and that he’s down to ” bone on bone” on the bad knee.
Hurricane’s is a great story to tell. I’m sharing his story to show that this long distance hiking thing defies logic, for some of us. All you have to do is decide to reach beyond yourself and take action.
I told Hurricane that I will help him through Maine. Given his bum knee and Hurricane’s massive internal push machine, further damage could halt him again. I really want to pick him up at Baxter State Park and celebrate his latest accomplishment.
I turn 62 in 2 days. I plan to take the day off and hike a bunch. I’ll give the Hurricane a call and wish him well- it will be good for both of us.