It is easy to grow old, stiff, weak and overweight. Given time and lack of activity, tying my shoes can become a major challenge for the day. It’s not easy for an older person to reverse habits of inactivity. It is better to work hard not to develop them in the first place.

Just training for the PCT means lots of walking, exercising and stretching. Muscles that were rarely used in my working days rebel against this kind of treatment. Good! This is what I want. I also want to overcome the good life that leaves me shivering on cold days and melting into jello on hot days. I want to be acclimatized to any weather. I want to improve my night vision, only possible where there is little or no light pollution. I want to see my flab disappear. I want to find the limits of my aging body, ignoring its aches and pains. I want to enjoy the mental and physical challenges of meeting the elements on their terms, crossing snow fields, roaring creeks, avoiding strikes from lighting storms that frequent the crests, outwitting the bears, the ticks, the giardia.

I want to experience the magnificence of the desert, the sierras, the volcanic Cascades, the kaleidoscope of nature’s beauty that is the PCT. I can hear the challenges of the trail calling “come”. I can see its beauty calling “come to me”. I respond, “be patient, I’ll be there in May”.


The summer of 2004, we tried an experiment–could two “senior citizens” with gray hair put in 20-plus mile days over steep trails, with a week’s worth of food, in all weather, including our least favorite–heat? Answer: yes, we could! (And a big thank you to Ray Jardine for the concept of hiking with an umbrella when it’s hot–BYOS (Bring Your Own Shade) really works!

Now, amid all the usual busyness of working in AWANA (a great nondenominational, international Christian club for kids!), plus “regular” jobs (Bill is an about-to-retire stationary engineer at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco; Monty is a semi-retired ballet costume seamstress/wardrobe mistress), we are involved in all the pre-thruhike details of making gear and clothing, collecting food, planning resupplies, and doing training hikes on the beautiful hills of Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties of California. We are grateful to God for good health, a wonderful support team (our daughters Mercy and Alexa), and such a great opportunity to explore both the beauty of Creation and the aftermath of Catastrophe (Noah’s Flood) along the PCT.

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