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!