One of the reasons I keep coming back to long distance backpacking is the pure enjoyment of it all. Sure there is pain, and dirt and a fair amount of suffering, but there is a lot of fun.
When experiences are as intense as thru-hiking can be, you learn a lot about your fellow hikers in those times. Seeing a person’s true colors leads to deep connections that often span years between hikes, and often those most memorable times include a lot of laughter.
Friends, and very funny guys, Squatch and Jester are great at putting those ridiculous moments on film. You should check out Squatch’s series, Walk, Still Walking, Even More Walking and Walked. He caught me on film in Even More Walking at the Hiker Heaven hostel in 2006…while he was interviewing me he was also deploying a fart machine.
Jester’s series Wizards of the PCT and Embrace the Brutality are freaking hilarious, for anyone looking to learn about the non-serious side of thru-hiking, check out these two guys’ movies.
Having fun can include carrying ridiculous things (you gotta find out what the Wizard is in Jester’s movie). I won a whoopie cushion in a raffle at the PCT kick-off in 2006 and carried it for most of the trail.
Oh yeah, did I mentioned that I shaved my head prior to hiking the PCT? I had a going away party where for every $5 someone donated to my hiking fund, they could take some scissors to my hair. At the end of the night we shaved it all off and also shaved “PCT” into the back of my head (my friends cut enough of my hair off that I was able to buy the digital camera I took on the trail that year!). That lead to lots more shaving that night…
So one of the best parts of the PCT for me was meeting my dear friend NEMO. That girl knows how to have fun. Along the hike she taught me how to knit.
Really, knitting is a pretty good hobby to have on a long trail. Yarn doesn’t weigh much, and you can make useful things like hats for hikers while you walk!
And then there was the sword. When we got to Ashland, NEMO and I decided to see a Shakespeare play (Ashland is well known for their Shakespeare Festival each year). Well, it just so happened that NEMO found a lightweight sword that she had to give me. (My trail name is She-ra after all, Princess of the Power).
The point of all this (oh man, I have so many more stories!) is to have fun on your hike. Sometimes the seriousness of day-to-day life doesn’t allow for ridiculous antics that you can get up to on a long trail.
Life is far too short to be so serious.