Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Widow found in Black Hunger

PCT Interview Two

Thank you Funny Bone for answering some questions.

What did you bring that you wish you hadn't?

Nothing, really. But there were times I carried too much water, in that I arrived at the next water source with 5-8 pounds of water on me. This was something that had a major effect on my skinny legs, as you CAN be too well prepared, too overburdened, for a thru-hike. It's best to plan accordingly, so that you're carrying the lightest load you can at all times.

What did you not bring that you wish you had? 

A Sherpa or a pack animal. No, in all honesty, I had honed it down to only the necessities and what I deemed a necessity: the camera, its batteries, a handheld word processor, its batteries, and a book or two.

Did you talk to yourself (out loud)?

Yes. Conversations were usually quite shallow but sometime quite deep, depending on circumstance and mood.

Ice ax. Yes or no?

In 2006 an ice axe was pretty much obligatory, because of the record snowfall throughout the spring. I self-arrested a number of times and was thankful I was prepared to do so. Had it not been for my fancy titanium ice-axe, I'd have had to use my nose.

Did you think about girls you knew in high school? 

Unfortunately, I didn't know any girls in high school. But yes, I still thought of them, and how.

Did you bring lotion?

Sunscreen had many purposes.

Shoes. Yes, no? 

Yes, two of them. One on each foot.

Favorite food item?

Generally I went with anything salty, instead of sweets. Pistachios were especially scrumptious. But who can afford to carry the shells? The truth is, almost every food item was a favorite on the trail.

Food item you would not bring?

I would not send myself too much of one kind of food in advance. Appetites change and instant oatmeal wasn't even appealing even during the first go-around.

Stove. Yes, no?

No, but there were times I wish I had, particularly on those frigid mornings. A warm cup of tea would've been nice.

MP3 or any other technology (I realize a fork is technology but I mean electronics)?

The camera, the PocketMail word processor and, in the desert for a short stint, an MP3 player. I tossed the thing a day or two later, as I felt too detached from my surroundings, the surroundings I sought by being out there in the first place. One function it had, however, was a voice recorder, which allowed me to record my thoughts faster than the word processor did.

How did you deal with loneliness?

I never really felt alone. Isolated at times, perhaps. But alone, no. I found that the trail keeps you busy enough not to think about being alone.

How did you motivate to continue after particularly miserable times?

The pull of the goal. I kept plowing forward toward better times and an arbitrary line in the woods they call Canada. That's the very nature of a thru-hike: you keep moving. Thru-hikers like to pretend they're easy-going types but the reality is the ones who complete their hike are all pretty driven to accomplish their goal.

What shelter, if any, do you recommend?

I changed things throughout but today's modern shelters are all pretty outstanding, that is unless they aren't out there or standing (due to rain or wind or snow).

Bug spray. Yes or no?

Yes. I'd rather die from cancer than via mosquito bites.


Yes, as I mentioned above, it served numerous purposes. For the most part I dressed from head-to-toe, to avoid more chemical application.

Did you make up any songs as you walked?

I did and pardon me for boasting, but most of them were absolute masterpieces. Of course, unless I pulled out the small voice recorder I carried for all of two days, I'd forget them the next morning.

Fishing pole?

No. Fish don't hike the PCT.

With what historical figure do you most identify?

I read plenty of Muir and Thoreau while hiking, but could not quite fully identify with either. Those gentlemen were kooks! But I could fully identify with Playboy's 1990 Miss February, a toothsome young lady who went on to become Playmate of the Year. She was my playmate throughout many of those long nights along the trail, but alas, eventually the pages got to the point where they stuck together and I could no longer turn them or open that centerfold.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The good news is that I have a job that offers a thing called a sabbatical. The bad news is that I am not eligible until Fall of 2013. And as you may or may not know I am planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. This hike is a component of an art exhibition at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
I have not given up. I am applying for grants and fellowships and hiking scholarships (I made the last one up). Either that or I am going to have to hike faster.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


This lp cover was on the wall of Miss Lily's, a dark and lovely Jamaican restaurant in Soho or the West Village or somewhere in New York. 

Monday, November 07, 2011

Trail Names

Training for the PCT by walking all over New York City. Hopefully the trail is not as rough and steep as some of these New York streets. This morning during breakfast with the Hasidim at the Condor Hotel, my associate and I talked about trail names. Of course a nickname of any kind is out of the control of the named, but we talked about attempting to control mine. Associate said I should hand out gumi bears and say things like, "hey guys, have some gumi bears!" and, as a look at my watch,"it's gumi bear thirty!" But I do not eat gumi animals of any species (i do eat dairy and eggs). I guess I could be "Gumi Bear" ironically, like calling a vegetarian Carnivore or The Cannibal. Maybe I'll try to insert my old hobo moniker "Lobo," by howling every morning. We'll see.