DAY 122 – Mile 2000 – Feeling the struggle


Lava, Lava everywhere

I have written a lot about my progress and the physical nature of the area through which I’m hiking, but I haven’t talked much about how I feel about this on a day to day basis.

First let me say that it’s hard, really hard. Hard on me, hard on Robin and unrelenting. The thought of getting up every morning at 4:45 in the dark and cold ( which I need to do because I walk much slower than most), cooking breakfast, packing away an often damp tent and sleeping bag, getting everything else packed up while taking care of life’s necessities (tooth brushing etc. ) then walking for at least 20 to 30 miles a day, everyday. My longest so far is 38.

My body always aches from carting around a 30+ lb pack, shoulders are sore, back hurts, legs want to quit and my feet are always screaming. I’m constantly eating energy bars and drinking on the go, so I can stayed fueled and hydrated without stopping. At the end of the day, after 13 or so hours of almost nonstop walking, up and down hills, climbing over logs and through streams, I finally stop, usually alone, and set up camp, cook some dinner and by 7:30pm I’m in bed (after setting up my tent, lofting the sleeping bag, inflating the pad, banging the dust out of shoes and socks, then washing (the best I can) disgusting feet and legs, brush teeth etc… Of course I always have to pee in the middle of the night so I drag myself out of the cozy bag into freezing darkness to answer natures call. Then at 4:45am, I start all over again.

I always reek, can’t help it since I only get to shower once a week at best. I do swim in lake when I can for a quick rinse.
I miss Robin and Landon more than I can express, everyday is a challenge to press on and because I’m here by choice, no one is forcing me to do this. It is difficult not to say “I don’t need to be here” and just quit and go home.

But all that said, this is also the most incredible experience of my life. I have changed in so many ways. Lost 30+ lbs, gained some strength, met some extraordinary people, learned a whole new level of humility and self, and I see the world in a completely new perspective. I wouldn’t change a thing. It has been beautiful, amazing and challenging and hard everyday. With just over 600 miles left (I just crossed the 2,000 mile mark) I can’t wait for the end and will desperately miss the daily struggle.

15 thoughts on “DAY 122 – Mile 2000 – Feeling the struggle”

  1. Thank you Dean, for sharing, your very real feelings. I can feel the humility and pride and I can also feel how you must miss Robin and Landon but you know they are there for you in spirit and love. We all are, so kudos to you for not quitting and for seeing the beauty in the pain. xoxo

  2. Good to hear some of the details of the trek Dean. It’s easy for us at home to just think things are all rosy and fun out there. It does sound like an incredible experience, but I can understand the grind and missing Robin and Landon. I think the feeling of accomplishment you will have when you finish will be great and give you a measure of how tough you are. We admire your perseverance.

  3. Dean you’re post has captured what I imagine to be the struggle you face really well. Thanks for sharing this and all of the posts you’ve made on what is an amazing journey.

  4. you just dialed my envy down a notch – haha – but i don’t have anyone to miss so bing !!! it’s back up 😉 but the grind has gotta be brutal – no question – you da’ man – never doubted it – thanx for sharing – your feet will be repaired & time to shove them into a ski boot in no time …

  5. Yes, I see the “Three Sister’s” in your pic and recognize them. My last comment mentioned about experiencing them too. You’re up on a huge volcanic plateau on the eastern side of Oregon as you know well. I recently experienced a hike in Iceland by the very active lava flows in the mountains, called “Hraun” 3 weeks ago on a FedEx aircraft delivery flight from the US passing through and on to Europe. It was incredible, and I was so lucky to experience it and the wonderful people too!

    I love the town of Bend, OR. for all it’s charm, beauty and has to offer. It’s just west of Redmond (Lancair factory) and I could maybe retire there…
    Be safe!

  6. Dean, it’s nice to hear the inside story, not just the outside. I’m intereted to see how your perspective has changed. It’s got to be tough going. Kudos to you for having the perserverence to keep trucking! I’m rooting for your next 600 miles!!!!

  7. Dean-
    What a test in perseverance! Thank you for the reality check on what life is really like on the trail. We just get to see the pretty pictures and watch the miles tick away. But you’re getting there!! Cecil

  8. All words & photos shared remind me of the incredible youth you nurtured & to this day your love of the wild continues to motivate. Will message you MGOYA 1st newsletter>>>Wild Footsteps. Vela.

  9. Easy for me to think that you are about to finish the PCT in one season….joining an elite group who can make that claim. I have to remind myself that the remaining 600 miles is a very long distance to walk. You’ve gone so far already I have lost my perspective. Hopefully you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We miss you!

  10. Love the honesty, Dean! It definitely wears on you – the day-in and day-out drag of necessities. And, as you nailed, it is like nothing you’ll ever experience! Doing this long distance gives you the notional impression (and budding confidence) that anything in life is possible.

    Keep on truckin’ – you are hiking for so many who cannot do as you’ve done.


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