Here's how it all wrapped up and here's what happened since the last big hike.
I finished the Pacific Crest Trail on October 1st, 2012. It was good.
I hiked to Manning Park where I got on a bus and spent a week in Vancouver. And that was good.
Then, I was picked up by my uncle Steve. Technically he's my great uncle; it's all the same. I had the pleasure of spending a week with him and his wife, Michelle, at their beautiful home on a small island off the northern coast of Washington. And that too, was also good.
Following all of this, I did what had to be done, or at least what I believed at that time had to be done.
I flew back to New Jersey. I planned to spend some time living with the folks, visit with friends and family, and find myself a good ol' fashioned job. The real type. The type that isn't dependent upon the seasons and maybe, just maybe, offers a few so-called "benefits". Among these "benefits" is typically the benefit of working indoors on a rigid schedule that allows so many to live without recognizing or feeling the flow of natural time and the changing of the seasons. -- it does not necessarily, but can easily, lead to the Great Disconnect between Man and Earth. However, such a job simply wasn't in the cards.
In an effort to keep busy, I picked up a job at a local coffee shop. Which turned out to be a great job, however it rooted me in New Jersey without making even enough money to pay the cheapest rent in the area.
I grew restless. And as the summer season approached, I took on a job leading high school trail crews for another season. I've loved this job. Travel, camping, hiking, and on-job tasks with clear objectives able to be completed only through raw physical effort. It has given me an opportunity to hone my skills as a teacher and mentor. Best yet, I wasn't teaching from a book or a prescribed curriculum, I was let lose to teach what inspired me. Whichever of Nature's many beauties struck me throughout the day would become our lesson. Such an organic teaching method coupled with total natural immersion and the natural highs of physical activity meant one thing; young people would be inspired. Inspired to take up the cause of the natural world, for She speaks softly without Human aid, and to care for her for the rest of their lives.
Additionally, trail crews give their members freedom and responsibility that perhaps has not existed in their life until this point. Nature is the greatest teacher and it has been my pleasure to work as her assistant. If it looks as if it will rain, I will guide my students towards taking the correct measures to remain comfortable and happy. I will not, and often cannot, do these things for my students. Therefore, if they fail to act, they will be forced to handle the natural consequences, whether it be simply a wet change of clothes, an uncomfortable camp layout, or a tent which may not be keeping its contents dry (obviously the safety of my students is of utmost importance and when necessary I will step in to correct a situation if need be).
This summer I was assigned to work in Texas and ran up against more problems than successes. I truly hope that beyond the physically observable and immediate successes further ones may become apparent as these students grow and look back upon their experiences on the crew. Regardless, it was a very difficult summer in a largely uninspiring location. As a final statement concerning Texas, I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful co-worker and friend who without I would have been lost. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.