• Brandon A. Kelone

Pacific Crest Trail Diary 11: Day 73 (Burney, CA)

Updated: Sep 21, 2018

I fall in love too easy. I fall in love with places, things, and people before I can even realize what's happening. Sometimes I judge this to be a reflection of my inadequacy; I'll think to myself that if I were really complete or whole then I wouldn't need things like validation from others. This is largely a farce, but it is the way my mind works. Perhaps it's a reflection of living a really lonely life and being... Well... Really lonely. 


I met a girl not too long ago on trail and we spent all of about 10 seconds in one another's company, but even in that time I fell all over myself. I could see it as soon as I saw her, and it bothered me. But I didn't avoid her like I probably should have, and so when we talked I melted. I knew better then and I know better now. We knew one another for less than a day and are not likely to meet again, but even in that blink of the eye I was flooded with memories of junior high and high school. I felt very inadequate in that regard when I was young, and in too many ways I still feel that way today. 


Life would be simpler if these kinds of passion didn't exist. It would be simpler, and unfortunately it would be less beautiful, I have to believe. 


I'm upset when people tell me that I'm not the kind of guy who has to try in that avenue in life. They think that women are a simple game for me and I want, for just a day, for them to live in my shoes. I want for them to feel how I feel about myself and realize how wrong they've been. It's not easy to love someone else outwardly when you do not love yourself, when you have no self confidence, when you're ashamed with your outward and inward self. This is the situation I find myself in, but I struggle to articulate it. Probably this is how they also struggle to get me to see their perspective. 


I don't know what the point is here... Perhaps it's nothing. Perhaps I bemoan the process of love. Perhaps I miss it even more than I bemoan it. 


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Being alone in the wild for a long time is something that I wish everyone would do. The world would be a different and better place. There have been times in my life (in the not so distant past even) when I thought that the way to change the would would be to have everyone take a dose of acid or mushrooms, but I've never thought that was anything more than a science fiction fantasy; it could never happen and the 60s proved that. But there's no reason that the same couldn't be done with nature. Using nature as a substitute for psychedelics reduces the complexity of it all and mutes many of the arguments that could counter my former proposal. 

Spending time in nature has changed me, and I wish I could give that to someone as a small sample, so they could see the potential for impact in their own lives just by stepping out of the cubicle and into the woods. But even this gets me blowback. A couple of days ago I was talking with someone back home and she told me that she WISHES that she could be out here doing what I'm doing. It was offensive to me to hear that. I told her that although I was flattered that she thinks it was easy for me to give up everything that I had to pursue this dream, that it was actually a lot of work, a lot of pain, and a lot of struggle to get where I am today. But that struggle is something that almost anyone reading this could go through themselves. The only thing stopping people from being out here is themselves, their fears, and the limitations that they've imposed on themselves. So this girl, she wanted to have the good that I've found in my journey but she didn't want to do the work to get here. She wanted to idealize the whole thing, and that just reduces my own struggle and leads me to minor frustration. It's frustrating even more because it demonstrates that people like her can see that a journey like the one I'm on is life changing and paradigm shifting. But she didn't want to take the step to make it happen. It was easier to live in complacency and not change the life that was causing her pain. 


If the world could spend some time in nature the would would be a better place. But it's just too hard to step outside sometimes, and instead we keep paying our bills, cursing our lovers, and bemoaning the circumstances that have led to our current existence. 

Get out and sit in a stream, watch a lizard, and let the rain run down your face. 

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I left Chester a few days ago and the weather has been pretty consistent since then. It is clear in the morning, overcast by one or two, and raining pretty heavy by four. Then by the evening it clears and starts over the next day. I don't really like the rain, but it is so much better than the 100+ degree heat, so I've learned to appreciate it. California needs the water too, so that's good to see it falling for that reason. 


I hiked the infamous "Hat Creek Rim" at the end of this last segment. It's supposed to be the hottest and driest stretch of the trail--no water for 30 miles. Everyone had been talking about it for several hundred miles, but like so many of the challenges on trail, it really wasn't that hard. I carried 5 1/3 liters (my max up to this point was 3 3/4 liter), dry camped about half way through, and made it out with extra to spare. No problem at all, even after all the talk it had gotten on trail. 


At the end of the stretch I met an older dude named "Uncle Buck." He's a really nice guy who has a nice story himself for what he is looking for in this hike. He suggested that we split a room in Burney and I agreed that it would be a good idea. I'd needed a bed to rest, but most of all I was craving berry pie like it was crystal meth--it was a desperate need. 


So we hitched into town yesterday afternoon and after laundry and a shower I proceeded to go to the local diner and order slice after slice of blackberry pie. "Have you ever had someone order so many pie slices?" I asked the waitress. She said, "yes, but never just for themselves." She then proceeded to tell me that I'd eaten all the berry pie in the restaurant and that my last piece would have to be a different kind. So I ordered a piece of peach pie. It wasn't as good as the berry, but after sitting there and eating pie for about 3 hours, I was satisfied with the destruction I'd done. It made Burney a worthy stop.


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I'll be entering Burney Falls State Park today (about seven miles from my current location). I have my new sleeping pad waiting there for me and a food resupply box as well. From there I'll hike to Castella (population 300) and soon after will be in Oregon. It's absolutely mind blowing to think that I'll be out of California in a mere 300 miles! Although that seems a long way when you think about the road trip from Valdez to Anchorage Alaska and how long that would take to walk by foot, after hiking 1,400 miles it really isn't that much. Just a couple of weeks and you're there. Time changes after you've been on trail this long. A lot changes after this long. It makes you calmer, more resilient to "bad things happening." It has made me more zen and it has made me much more content with life. 


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I still think of you all every day. The people who have been in contact with me via messages have really changed my disposition on the hard days. Sarah, Adam, Jared, Connie, Angela... shoot... It just occurred to me how long the list would be if mention everyone. The point is that you all are on my mind all the time when I'm on trail. I couldn't be here and keep going without that support. 


I need to get going though; I have a few things I need to take care if in town before getting back on trail, so I best get to it. 


Love you all and I'll write again soon. 


"Wormwood"