At 50 and 15, dad and I backpacked in Yosemite National Park, but why are we standing behind a rock, I wonder?
hike blog

thanks to the one who started this hiking addiction

My dad has given me the best gift anyone has ever given me. He gave me wings to fly.

Adria Arjona
At 50 and 15, dad and I backpacked in Yosemite National Park, but why are we standing behind a rock, I wonder?
At 50 and 15, dad and I backpacked in Yosemite National Park, but why are we standing behind a rock, I wonder?

There’s a lot of things my dad and I share – a Roman nose (inherited from his mom, Janet Loricchio) an addiction to Gummy Bears (which his wife, Ding, calls his “antidepressant pills”), an outsize passion for classical music, ready smiles that crack up our faces into a mass of crinkles, and a love of the outdoors that oftentimes brings us to tears.

At fifteen, my dad left the nest to blaze his own trail, and ended up in Bellingham, Washington working in a men’s clothing store while finishing high school. He enlisted in the Navy, to see the world, but always kept his feet on terra firma as much as possible, especially in the fresh air of the North Cascades, a wonderland of deep green touched by fingers of snow late into the season.

There’s a wonderful picture of my dad in those mountains posing with his ice ax, never realizing it would take me five decades to get to this very spot when I walked the Pacific Crest Trail last summer.

Judy met a guy with a much lighter tent while hiking the Appalachian Trail and it was not a "coffin" but rather, a palace. That just pissed her off, so she went designed her own ultralight palace.
audio narrative

peeps of the PCT: Heart Fire, tent maker

Long distance hiking is not a vacation, it’s too long for that.

Ann Zwinger
Judy met a guy with a much lighter tent while hiking the Appalachian Trail and it was a palace. That moment pissed her off, so she designed her own ultralight palace.
Judy met a guy with a much lighter tent while hiking the Appalachian Trail and it was not a “coffin” but rather, a palace. That just pissed her off, so she went and designed her own ultralight palace.

At a tent site high up on a ridge in Washington, I met two women sitting on logs next to their individual mineral green tents and passing a small flask betwixt themselves. They lifted their outstretched legs as I passed, since that was the only route to a tiny spring – described as a “crisp, cool, mystical, scoopable pool of water” below the trail.

As it goes with all backpackers sharing a space, the two were friendly, eager to share about their day’s hiking. For them, it was a return to familiar ground, which last summer had been shrouded in smoke with no views available at all of splendid Goat Rocks or Mount Rainier himself, shining high above.

Fortunately, it had been a gloriously clear day, so all had been rescued – and that might have explained the celebratory Scotch which was eventually offered to me.

audio narrative

a chorus of birds from both sides (of the world) now

These things are ours for God creates within our soul a mystic sense of wonder that we may hear allegro tunes among tall swaying cattails.

Gwen Frostic

Before we get to birds, a small bit of business.

So many of you have asked me how to pronounce New Zealand’s “Te Araroa.” This is my hiking-partner-for-the-first-eight-days Irene’s dad’s longtime girlfriend, Vern with her gorgeous Kiwi accent setting us straight on this Maori word.

Te Araroa is pronounced teah ah-rah-ROH-uh and means “long pathway” in Maori

audio narrative

peeps of the PCT: Catholic scouts of the trail

Thank God I have seen an orange sky with purple clouds. How easy it is to forget that we have the privilege of living in God’s art gallery.

Erica Goros
The backpacking priest carries everything needed to celebrate the mass: his cassock, a chalice, the host, wine, a missal, candles, a bell – and his guitar!

It was a wet, chilled-to-the-bone day in the North Cascades, when I hopped down a spur trail towards a lake, looking for somewhere reasonably dry to eat my lunch. I came upon a group of men sharing this strip of land in the midst of celebrating a mass. They too felt the cold, I’m sure, but it didn’t stop their desire to commune with the spirit by making music and chanting blessed words together.

This week, my goal is to dig in and read every blog entry over the past year as well as sort through thousands of pictures. Yeah, I know, it’s a massive goal, but stay with me. The aim of this endeavor is to help create a coherent storyline for the many presentations I am being asked to give. Not surprising, it’s an enlightening experience – if not a touch bittersweet – to look back at all I accomplished, but maybe more important, to understand my state of mind and why I felt compelled to take this radical detour in my mid-fifties.