I’m 41 years old. I am a husband to a splendiferous wife, father to three amazing children, son to two humans of general awesomeness, brother to one phenomenal sister, married into a whole clan of fantastic people I like a lot. I spend my days teaching English composition to college students in Southern California and my nights recording audio books. I dream of writing my own novel, which has been slowly emerging for the past several years. I am a follower of God and seek to do His will when I can get past myself to do so. I enjoy science fiction and fantasy, roleplaying, linguistics, writing, acting, and sundry other geeky activities. I am a lover of the wilderness and of great stories, a dreamer occasionally pressed into the service of reality. I am reasonably tall and fall down only rarely.
My fascination with the PCT began years ago in Boy Scouts. We were camping near Lake Silverwood (just down the road from our home in Crestline, in the San Bernardino Mountains) and saw the sign for the PCT out by Highway 173. When told that the path ran from Mexico to Canada, I imagined what a fantastic adventure it would be to hike it, like the journeys of characters in the epic fantasy novels I loved so.
And then I forgot. Through school and work and traveling to Washington for a Master’s in Creative Writing and to Toronto for a Master’s in English Literature, through getting married and figuring out what it meant to be a grown-up (I still hope to figure that out someday), the trail dream faded. The epic degenerates in the face of the mundane sometimes.
When my sons were about two, I stumbled on the trail journal of a thru-hiker, and the dream came roaring back. At the time, I despaired of ever making the trek: given work and small children, it seemed I’d be waiting until retirement (as so many do). Year by year the desire waxed and waned: sometimes strong enough to make me weep, other times distant and dim.
Last year, I started looking more seriously into a sabbatical from the college. After I got my family to be my cheering section and mission control (which was critical), I applied and—by God’s grace—was granted leave.
I’ll be hiking the trail to fulfill this dream.
I will be walking as a professor, investigating the links between writing and wilderness experience, with the plan of writing a text on observational writing when I return home.
I’ll be walking as a writer, filling my mind with images of glory and terror, with experiences of joy and pain, to include in a book about my experiences and all my future work.
I will be walking as a man, pitting myself against the great challenge and seeing if I am up to it and finding what lies at the heart of life.
I will be walking as a husband, getting to the core of who I am so that I can be the man I’m meant to be.
I will be walking as a father, showing my children that life is about the risk, the challenge, the joy, and that no dream is too crazy to pursue.
I will be walking as a child of God, seeking Him in the wonders of His creation, listening and watching for what He will do.