I’ve pre-ordered the print version via Kickstarter, but the Kindle version is free on Amazon right now. Carrot Quinn may just outdo Wild with her first book. She’s also going to attempt a thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail this season. Follow that, yes?
It’s been over a year since I’ve returned from completing my 2,500 mile thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail. In October, I was fortunate enough to focus my experience, step up to the plate, and give the Keynote presentation at the Midwest Winter Camping Symposium.
While attending there, I was interviewed for a series of instructional videos produced by Don Kivelus, of Four Dog Stove.
Here’s the video ( 9 minutes) that was just released yesterday by Four Dog Stove:
Published on Feb 16, 2015
“Triple Crown packpacker Tom Jamrog reveals some realities of long distance hiking with Don Kevilus of Four Dog Stove. Tom talks about overcoming obstacles and surviving winter camping.”
[Disclaimer: Four Dog Stove was Tom Jamrog’s primary sponsor on his Pacific Crest (2010) and Continental Divide (2013) Trail thru-hikes. ]
Since I was on the Maine Calling Book Club Maine Public Network radio show last week two lingering points have stuck with me.
If you missed the live-call in hour, here’s the link to listen to the 1 hour audio of the show. We discussed Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. “Wild” is now a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon.
I tried to convey two points on the show:
(1) The premise of the book may be over-reaching. On an actual long distance hike where one spends months in the wilderness traversing challenging terrain, in difficult conditions, and often nursing some physical pain, there is often no psychic energy left for one to process the stress, wounds, and psychic scars that we accumulate before we set foot on that trail. In the book ,”Wild”, Strayed devotes just as many pages to relationship/lifestyle issues (mother/daughter, sibling coherence, domestic violence, heroin use, sexual habits, death) as she does conveying the actual walking.
It’s tough to average out 20 miles a day, week after week, month after month. The experience of moving across America on your own two feet on a National Scenic Trail is often so compelling that we find ourselves in a parallel universe where our old shells are dropped like useless antlers, or dwarfed to the size of a speck, as we allow ourselves to experience force of the real Wild world. Like this- “Problems? What problems, I can’t even remember what they were?”
Bill Irwin thru-hiked the AT in 1990, and wrote, “Blind Courage”, one of the best hiking books ever. I just started tearing up just looking at the pictures in my signed copy (with Orient’s foot print) Bill was the first blind person to thru-hike the AT, where he fell thousands of times, despite the aid of Orient, his seeing-eye companion dog. If anyone needed it, Bill is the prime candidate to receive a redemption, but he is surprisingly realistic in his post hike appraisals.
From Bill in the Appalachian Trail Reader: “But it is unrealistic to expect the wilderness to resolve a lot of issues for you, issues you’ve never resolved anywhere else. The answer is not on the Trail. It’s in you.”
(2) Post-hike depression is an under-reported issue about long distance hiking. Irwin was the first writer/hiker I came upon who warned others that it may be dangerous to thru-hike. He does not necessarily recommend the practice to others. He writes that, ” I have even heard of people who have committed suicide because they couldn’t make that return.”
Here’s an an essential post from The New Nomads that details the kind of unexpected troubles that thru-hiking can bring you – ..My Notes on Post Trail Depression. I might have reblogged this entry back in March, but it deserves another look, especially the Reader Comments section.
So did Wild (the book) ring true to you, the walker in the woods?
Today (Wednesday 12/24) from noon to 1pm ( Eastern Time Zone) I’ll be on MPBN’s radio program Maine Calling to talk about Cheryl Strayed’s book ‘Wild.’ Maine Calling is a live, call-in show (1-800-399-3566) so please feel free to give a call and share your thoughts on Wild – the book or the movie.
Joining me today will be host Jennifer Rooks; Mary Pols, Feature writer for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Today, not entirely reformed movie/book critic, author of Accidentally on Purpose; and, Josh Christie, Independent bookstore manager. Author of MAINE BEER, and writer covering beer, books, and the Maine outdoors
People can also stream the discussion live by visiting news.mpbn.net People can post comments and questions on the Maine Calling Facebook page . We’re also on Twitter @mainecalling. Our email is Talk@mpbn.net.
Tune in !
With Wild, the movie making it’s way in theaters across America this week, let us not forget that there were people walking, and even riding the new PCT . Wild, the book harkens back to 1995. Back in 1969, this family demonstrated all that’s great about America.
Work, save money, and then have experiences that lift your life up, way up, but it ain’t easy.
-Murray photo files
Growing up on the Pacific Crest Trail. <<<—Check it out
Rob Caldwell’s Maine-based TV news magazine “207” (named after Maine’s one and only area code) interviewed me at my kitchen table two weeks ago. Rob’s program will feature a conversation we had about adventures, walking for months on end at a time, and being awarded the Triple Crown of Hiking.
The interview will air in two parts : November 24 & 25th—part 1 on Monday, part 2 on Tuesday. Catch it at 7:00 p.m. on channel 6 in Portland and channel 2 in Bangor. It will also be posted in the 207 section of www.WCSH6.com .
Rob told me to, “Tell everyone you’ve ever met. We want even people on hiking trails who are fifty miles away from the nearest TV to watch.”
I opened the beat-up padded envelope that just came in my mailbox and was blown away to finally see this physical object in my hands. I’m in a club of 230 individuals world wide !
The American Long Distance Hiking Association-West sent me a congratulatory letter with three statistics:
“On a single day in May 2012, more people summited Mt. Everest than have hiked the Triple Crown.
More people have circumnavigated the earth than have hiked the Triple Crown.
More people have been in space than have hiked the Triple Crown.”
I didn’t do it alone.
My deepest appreciation goes out to Dick Wizard, Train, General Lee, Paddy-O, my wife Auntie Mame, my mother Isabel, my brother Roy, my son Lincoln and his fiancée Stephanie , Don Kivelus ( Four Dog Stove) and my Trailjournal transcribers Jan Munroe (v8), and John Clark (Tenzing). Special thanks to all the other hikers who helped me ( it’s an impossibly long list to do justice to) , my faithful Traijournal readers, and all the individuals , past and present, who worked or are working to make our National Scenic Trails a reality that anyone can step onto and return to our ancestral purpose in the grand forests, deserts, mountains, and plains that grace the United States of America.
I am presenting a talk in Vermont at this event, upcoming in November..
My talk/ photo display will be : Winter Walking the West: Preparing and Adapting for Snow Travel in the Sierras and the Rockies
It’ a great weekend of all things winter foot- travel related. It sells out at 100 registrants every year so far, so get in touch with Lynn if you are interested in going.
Snow Walkers’ Rendezvous 2014
Hulbert Outdoor Center
Friday, November 7 – 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Saturday, November 8– 8:45 am- 9:00pm
Sunday, November 9 – morning – workshops & informal hike/ bike
Join us for our 20th informal gathering of friends (and friends of friends) who love to travel traditionally in the winter wilderness. We’ll have slides, and films and lots of information to exchange. Bring your favorite items from the North to display: maps, books, photo albums, sleds, tools, etc. All are welcome to display tents and share traditional camp set-ups.
Partial list of folks sharing their experiences:
Katherine Donahue NH Steaming North: 1st Cruise of US Revenue Cutter Bear,Alaska & Siberia,1886
Ruth Heindel VT Stories from the Poles: Science and Adventure in Greenland and Antarctica
Paul Sveum NH 21 Day Snowshoe Trip on the Boundary Waters
Mirelle Bouliano QU Skiing Northern Quebec
Craig MacDonald ON Richmond Gulf Traverse 1979
Bruce Lindwall NH Back Country Skiing the Sierra Crest Trail
Tom Jamrog ME Winter Walk the West: Preparing & Adapting on the Pacific Crest & Continental Divide
Scott Ellis VT Finding Simplicity in Winter Camping
Alex Medlicott NH First Aid for the Winter Trail – Cold Injuries; prevention,recognition;treatment
Ann Ingerson VT Sewing Your Own Winter Gear
Tim Smith NH Axe Handling
Ross Morgan VT Knots for the Trail
Paul Sveum NH Food Planning for the Trail
David & Anna Bosum QU (Tentative) Cree Culture
Film – “On the Wings of Mighty Horses” – Sakha Republic
Geoffrey Burke NH Build your Own Toboggan
Loranne Carey Block NH Felted & Knitted Sock Fiber Arts for Camping
Tour of the Tents & Stoves Traditional Equipment Display
Used Equipment – Sale/Swap Bring your fiddle, guitar or musical instrument for evening fun…
AND MUCH MORE…………………………..
Meals & Lodging: Simple lodging is available at the Hulbert Outdoor Center. Cozy 3-4 bedroom heated cabins provide comfortable accommodations. (As well as your tent!) Meals served buffet style in dining hall. The Center is located on Lake Morey, and is easily accessible from I-91.
Program registration -$60; student/limited income-$45. Registrations accepted until program is full.
Meals & lodging package for the weekend (Fri. Dinner through Sun. Breakfast, 3-4 occupancy/room)
Commuter & tent rates available (see registration form) Thanks for mailing or faxing your registration after Oct 1. Sorry we cannot accept phone registrations.
Registration Questions: Lynn_Daly@alohafoundation.org
Coming through Millinocket around noon today we stopped at the Hannaford’s grocery store where down by the dairy isle I ran into Billy Goat, a former Mainer, who is best known for his perpetual thru-hiking of the Pacific Crest Trail.
I was astounded that he appeared in my life again. I had three conversations with Billy Goat on my 2010 5-month thru hike of that trail, that 2,700 mile baptism of ice, snow, and other forms of cold water.
Billy Goat gave me specific advice each time that we connected. Slow down was his main message, “You may never pass through all this again.”
Billy Goat has been out providing ground/ auto support for a friend who is about to finish a long segment from Gaspe, Quebec to Katahdin. I told Billy Goat he looked good for 75. His eyes are not worn and washed out, and still radiate hope.
The highlight of the day was sitting in the rear seat of a small 4 seat float plane with my buddies Chris and Joe when we departed from Katahdin Air Service and landed on Crawford Pond 15 minutes later to begin our 50 mile northbound section hike. The cost of the flight included a shuttle of my car to Abol Bridge, a one hour round trip. When we finish the hike, the car will be right there for us on the Appalachian Trail. Jim, the pilot, pointed out where the AT meanders between the lakes and ponds below as it carries itself along the undulating green carpet.
It was the perfect introductory backpacking day. Blue skies, except for the clouds over Katahdin.
Go Take a Hike! – NYTimes.com.< Enjoy the hope.
Every once in a while, Nick Kristof, prizewinning journalist takes a long hike, and it’s national news. This time it’s 145 miles in Oregon on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Kristof’s article calls to mind one of the most piercing quotes of all time, from the Grand Wanderer.
“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. ” -Thoreau
In 2010, on this exact date, I was 1544 miles into hiking the PCT, and in Etna California, about 100 miles south of entering Oregon.
Read my Trailjournal entry from that day, echoing my own renewed appreciation for hiking this particular National Scenic Trail.