The Finish of the Hardest Stretch the High Sierras

Checklist of negatives...

The mutha fu*cking (my pops doesn't like when I swear in my blogs) Sierras!!!

Taken down by a river... check
Hypothermic shock from below freezing water temps... check
Altitude sickness at 14505 feet... check
Lost hiking pole down a river... check
Several burnt lips and skin from a harsh sun (it laughs at sunscreen) reflecting off miles upon miles of snow fields... check
Exhaustion and frustration countless times from the crawl of a pace through snow and over mountain pass after mountain pass... check
Too many slips and falls to count... check
Too many ankle and knee twists to count... check
Too many cuts and bruises to count... check
Thinking the break from snow you have been searching so long for has finally come until you turn the corner and there are six more miles of snow in front of you...check
38 straight days of soaking wet feet... check
Sick of tuna for the reminder of my life... check
Still a fear of heights... check
Snow...officially over it..check
A fear of showers due to raging rivers... check (baths for life!)
River nightmares... check
Hiking through the worst breeding ground of mosquitos on planet earth... check

Checklist of positives

A perspective of beauty like never before... check
A sense of accomplishment higher than any level I've felt in life... check
An appreciation for the power of nature... check
A better understanding of myself and my limits... check
An appreciation for two incredible hiking partners (Tim aka Warren-T and Dave aka Kyser Soeze). Without the team we couldn't have made it through this 400 mile stretch... check
Still not sick of snickers.. check
Still not sick of pepperoni... check
Appreciating the overwhelming enjoyment of a cheeseburger... check
Climbing and standing over 12,000 feet numerous times realizing that my fear of heights has somewhat diminished... check
Learning how to mountaineer on the fly... check
Somehow making it across every river safely... check
Thoroughly enjoying glissading (sliding down a mountain on your ass) to the point of laughing like a five year old... check
Walking out of the high Sierras with tears in my eyes from pure joy... check
Walking down trail to Paw Cody, Brian, Dave and Deb with tears in my eyes from pure joy... check
Enjoying a PBR the very next moment in the parking lot... check
Spending a night at the Black Bear Inn being treated like royalty (Thank you Bruce and Wendi!!...) check
Enjoying the best zero days on trails thus far (There you go Deb!!)... check

There are so many difficult moments. There are so many higher than life moments. There could be endless blogs on all the ups and downs, but what is most important is that I understand how grateful I am for all of it. I truly feel there's no better lesson in life than those given to me from a thru hike. After close to 400 miles of the high Sierra range I got to walk out safe and sound to family and friends greeting me. There are some hikers that didn't have that experience. Some have been badly injured. Some have perished. And some are still missing. One that is missing as I write this is one that I met and hiked around with for a few days. There is a harsh reality to how very dangerous this is. That reality never leaves my thoughts. I'm so very grateful that I'm one of those fortunate to have made it thus far and soon to be back hiking the rest of the trail to Canada.

Walking out to loved ones, speaking to family and friends and hearing from so many more I thank the powers that be for surrounding me with this support. I've been off for three days and am now preparing to get back on trail tomorrow. Being around this crazy family of mine only gives me more and more appreciation for what I have and what allows me to continue this journey. I'm through the most difficult of it all. There are certainly more tests to come. I've got 1600 miles to go. Honestly I can't wait to walk every step of them.....

This hike giving me all I expected and more... check
Hiking the good hike... CHECK!

Hike the Good Hike