Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What happened to Forager?

Greetings.....Many of you have been asking "what happened to Forager" and "Why isn't he updating the blog." When the trip ended I needed some time to figure it out. I am currently in a Yoda-like state living in the Green Swamp located in Clermont Florida. I live on a private island surrounded by lakes and a canal for entry. It is a swampy area with tons of natural wildlife. It feels like we live on a nature preserve. Exotic birds, wild hogs, armadillo, opossum, snakes, and you guessed it....alligators. We have an airboat that we take out on the Clermont chain of lakes. It is a very peaceful state of existence and I am working on my Jedi meditation :) Just kiddin about that last part, but it has been a great way for me to transition in to some type of participation in the "real world." I hope everyone is doing well and I will update you on my next adventure soon.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Looks Like We Made It

Good Evening Friends,
We made it! On September 29th, 2008 at 1:43pm we reached the Terminus Monument of the Pacific Crest Trail located on the US/Canadian border. Simply put this has been the journey of a lifetime and I couldn't have done it without all of your support, inspiration, and sacrifice. Thank you so much! The personal growth I have achieved spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically has equipped me to go out and give the world a great big bundle of love. Hiking through Central and Northern Washington was one of the highlights of the trip. More glaciers, more snow capped mountains, more volcanoes, and breathtaking views. There were also some of the best trail angels and I was the beneficiary of even more random acts of great kindness that further ingrained my hope in humanity. I look forward to sharing more stories with all of you on a personal level. For now I am hitch-hiking down the Pacific Coast. I am in the quaint port city of Bellingham, WA right now. Next we will be headed to Seattle, Portland, Redwoods National Park, Northern California wine country, Santa Cruz, and then finally Los Angeles. Then I will be returning to Orlando and I can't wait to give everyone there a big hug....there will be a small party to thank everyone and celebrate the journey when I return so stay posted for details.....and now...the three biggest lessons I learned on the trail:
1. No matter what happens in life....keep putting one foot in front of the other...no matter how slow, no matter how painful, keep going, and keep trying.
2. Live courageously. As I face my fears in life I gain more peace. The more peace I gain the more giving I can be to the world. I don't think the slogan should be "no fear." I think it should be "celebrate fear." Acknowledge that which we are most afraid of in the world, look the fear straight in the eyes, and then find the courage to live through it.
3. Dare to dream. No matter how big or small our dreams make us who we are. Stop coming up with reasons not to dream and start creating reasons to believe in your dreams!

But most importantly....above all else.....HAVE A PEACEFUL DAY!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Journey

Hi everyone! I am in Packwood, WA right now....a stones through away from the spectacular snow capped volcanic Mt Rainer....The Washington section of the hike has been nothing short of amazing....Goat Rocks Wilderness is one of the most beautiful places on Earth! I summited a mountain call Old Snowy from which I had views of Mt Rainer, Mt Adams (also another snow capped volcano), the famous Mt St Helens that erupted in 1980, glacier lakes, and huge glaciers all around me. I saw mountain goats that are huge white furry creatures. I saw an enormous elk. Then I really started to have fun...you see...I learned a valuable lesson out here:
Life is a journey, not a destination. Life isn't about what we acquire, it isn't about how much we make, what job we have, where we live, who we know, or even where we end up when we die....those things all have there place, but that is just it....life is about the way we lived while we were here. Were we happy? Did we dare to dream? Did we look our deepest fears straight in the eyes and find the courage from within to charge forward? Did we learn to love ourselves and in the process learn to love everyone around us? Did we share that love with everyone we meet? And most importantly...did we live a life that showed the world our love for God? I sat on top of a 7000 ft knife toothed ridge looking down a valley that seemed so deep it was a different world than where I was....I looked around at all the beauty of God's creation, the mountains, the snow, the lakes, the trees, and the cool breeze that blew my long hair back from my face....A bald eagle soared down to inspect me as it went on its own journey for the day....I couldn't have ever dreamed I would contain so much peace in my soul as in that moment....Instead of crying with joy I decided to do something unthinkable in my former lifestyle.....I looked down the face of the mountain I was on and there was a snow field that went down a sheer drop off about 800 feet down and then turned in to jagged rocks where the snow had already melted. I climbed down off the knife edged ridge on to the snow, grabbed my ice axe from my backpack, and then shoved off a sheer vertical drop at which I descended at the speed of gravity....as the grade eased I was probably sliding down at about 30 miles per hour on my rear end with certain death or serious injury awaiting me when I reached the jagged ice torn rocks at the bottom....in the last 40 feet I calmly rolled on my side and used the ice axe to self arrest, stopping my freight train of a slide down the mountain....I know what you are thinking...what kind of lunatic intentionally slides down the side of a mountain risking death? I do have the answer though....I am a man that has learned the most valuable lesson...life is a journey....a life of quiet desperation is no way to live....life isn't about our achievements....it is about how we got there.....many people will hike the Pacific Crest Trail this year, but none will have the same journey I did....the feeling I got at the bottom of the snow field when I realized I was safe and had made it was like nothing I have ever felt before.....In that moment I felt complete, absolute, and perfect freedom. I screamed at the top of my lungs for minutes before falling to my knees and thanking God for the lessons I have learned on this journey....so please for Forager....dare to dream, have the courage to face your fears, and show someone love today that you normally wouldn't have...and for God's sake.....today....please enjoy the journey!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Welcome To Washington

Hi Everyone! I know it has been a while, but Oregon is God's chosen land! This place is even better than the High Sierra's in California......Snowcapped volcanic mountains......electric blue sunsets........enchanted forests.........mystical lakes that seem to unravel the imagination......especially Crater Lake which is a volcano that had the top blown completely off of it during an eruption......the volcano filled with water over 1000's of years......then...there was another eruption.....Wizard Island was formed on the southwest quadrant of the lake.....In the winter....you can witness the inside of a volcano filled with a 2000 ft deep lake.....with all of your surroundings covered in a white Christmas.....heaven on Earth! Thank you so much to everyone that has encouraged me, or sent food, or just said hello to me on this journey! So for you....here is some Emerson:
From page 39 of "Ralph Waldo Emerson....Nature And Selected Essays"
In the woods, we return to reason in faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, -no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes), which nature cannot repair. Standing on bare ground,--my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space, --all mean egotism vanishes. I sell all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God. The name of the nearest friend then sounds foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, master or servant, is then a trifle, and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature."

Have a peaceful day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Welcome To Oregon

Looks like we made it! I finally passed in to the state of Oregon on Friday and it was very rewarding. I had a real sense of accomplishment after completing the California section of my journey.....I now have about 950 miles to Canada. Things are going great on the trail and I am really learning a lot about myself. When this journey began it was important for me to communicate to others that I wasn't doing this because I was searching for something. I had already been fortunate to find a great and powerful peace that comes from knowing and having a relationship with God and Jesus as my savior and friend. This journey started because once I really felt that type of peace on the inside all I really wanted to do is go out and experience the beauty and wonder of creation. The trail has taught me a lot though. I realized that I really was searching for something though....I was searching for a way to share that peace I had found with others...what good is such a powerful love if not shared with everyone we are on this journey of life with? I realize that what I really longed for the most was to live a life of peace, love, compassion, and forgiveness and by doing so help others come to know the same grace that I have found in our heavenly father. The magnificence of creation can be seen at its fullest on the trail.....the starry nights, the beautiful forests, and the other animals we share nature with all have a way of making me feel so connected to everything that is real about this life....it is that connection that helps make me feel closer to God than anything I have ever experienced and I just can't help but to want to share that with everyone around.....have a peaceful day!

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's Pancake Time!

Good morning from sunny Yreka, CA. I am now only one day away from reaching Seiad Valley and the "Pancake Challenge." Many of you are familiar with my story of how I learned about the Pacific Crest Trail. I saw a show on the Travel Channel that was about resaraunts around the country to "pig out." The Seiad Valley pancake challenge was one of those places and the show mentioned how hungry hikers come off the PCT starving for carbs and try to do the pancake challenge. It is a 5 pound stack of pancakes and I will be eating every last bite! A lot of fun has been had since the last blog. I made it from Old Station to the beautiful Burney Falls state park that was full of you guessed it....beautiful waterfalls...From there my travels took me to Castella and Castle Crags State Park. That park has a very unique mountainous rock formation that looks like some type of ancient castle. From there I took a side trip with Waffles, Sun Tan, Jammer, and Breezeway. We white water rafted down the Sacremento River for three days on tire intertubes. It was quite the adventure! We all lost our sunglasses, popped 4 tubes, got smashed in to rocks, and were drug accross the bottom when we tried to go over small waterfalls....by the grace of God none of us were seriously injured, but we did get plenty of scrapes and bruises. The best part of the story is that Sun Tan and Waffles had a wedding to go to and instead of taking a bus or a car they came up with the idea to tube down the river. We didn't make it far enough so after three days they finally decided it best to get out of the river and find some more reliable transportation. It was a side trip well worth doing! My next adventure is from Seiad Valley where we will finally cross in to Oregon and head for the city of Ashland. I cherish the experiences that I've had in California, but it feels good to be moving on to something new. Until next time.
Have a peaceful day,