“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them. A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
— Muhammad Ali
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011 was the most challenging and treacherous year on record due to monstrous snow and water levels. Many hikers were forced to quit, some skipped sections, others jumped north then hiked south then north (flip-flopping), and others just continued to hike straight through.
All faced daunting logistics and strenuous physical challenges. Most hikers started at the end of April and have finished or will finish up the 2,650 mile journey in the next couple of weeks.
I love following these folks through their online trail journals. It is addicting, suspenseful, funny, and motivating. Really…better than a great movie, TV show, or book because it is live, human, and heartfelt.
Just a few hiker updates:
Chinchilla and Pyrite – just a few days from the Canadian border
Erin (Wired) – will be finishing this week, September 23rd
Jack (Tequila Kid) – has 168 miles to go
Blister – finished 10th a couple of weeks ago
Wandering Dot – traveling in the middle of Washington
Half Step – entering Washington
Dug (Rawhide) – in northern Oregon
Balls and Sunshine – in Stehekin, Washington
Malto – finished August 27 in 100 days
Sniper – on September 12 had 180 miles to go
Rhino – finished on September 3rd and is now wanting a job at REI!
Recently Backpackinglight.com published “Completing a Thru-Hike” by Francis Tapon.
The article opens asking:
What sets successful thru-hikers apart from the rest of the pack? Superfitnessawesomesauce? A trust fund? The best gear? The answer may surprise you.
The only common thread that separated the successful thru-hikers from those who weren’t successful was their will. Those who complete a thru-hike in one season have an unbreakable will. They want to complete the trail so badly that nothing will stop them. Their rock-solid courage triumphs over the fear and adversity that confronts them throughout their arduous journey.
Here is to all the hikers that have finished or are in their last days of trail life. Thank you intrepid backpackers, it has been an honor to feel just a little part of your adventure.