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January 31st, 2006
12:39 am
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BaxWalk: It's on.
They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

It's an adage that, right now, I am feeling quite acutely. I've taken some small steps so far -- covering none of the actual distance, but moving forward in my preparations. And if all goes as planned, this summer, I'll be walking those thousand miles.

Actually, about two and a half times that.

Starting sometime in April, I am going to head south to the Mexican border, begin hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and ... keep going. If I am among the lucky, prepared and persistent few who make it to the other end, I will cross the Canadian border in early autumn. This is known as a "thru-hike," and covers 2,650 miles of the western United States' loveliest terrain.

I've been dropping some hints of this epic adventure here and there in my journal for the last several months. I've been meaning to make a friends-locked post explaining myself, but never found both the nerve and the time to tackle the subject head-on.

But now, the big thing that has kept me from a public announcement is no longer a factor. I have turned in four weeks' notice at the Journal (well, actually, seven, since they asked me to delay my departure a bit), and I don't have to worry about word leaking back to my employers secondhand.

This means two things: One, as the clock ticks down, my journal will become a public chronicle of my planning and of the trip itself. And two, since I'm quitting my job for this ... it's on.

I've been making vague preparations for years, and specific preparations for months, but that one act of giving notice has crystallized the whole trip. It's really going to happen. I'm really going to take this hike.

This post is just another one of the first steps toward my journey. There's too much to be said about the trip to get it down here all at once, but explaining it begins with the basics.

Next step, since there are a dozen questions I've heard already and anticipate hearing again, is a FAQ about the trip. For now, I just want to get this out onto the Internet so that I don't hold back the announcement any longer.

Current Mood: determineddetermined
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(27 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:baxil
Date:February 1st, 2006 08:02 am (UTC)
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Although I haven't worked out an itinerary yet, I am most likely to be with the main body of the thru-hikers -- so, yeah, that's fairly likely! I'll stay in touch about the possibility of a meet-up.
From:tropism
Date:January 31st, 2006 09:23 am (UTC)
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More power to ya, and best of luck. You'll need to find ways to drop us updates on the way. :)
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From:philrancid
Date:January 31st, 2006 11:20 am (UTC)
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Dude. That sounds positively beautiful.

Live it, okay?

I hope that one day, those whose hearts and imaginations can benefit from such, each get to have the sort of experience that a trip like this embodies, in some form or another.
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From:baxil
Date:February 1st, 2006 08:14 am (UTC)
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Thanks. :)

Congratulations on your marriage, by the way! This seems to be a good year for getting married.

I also hope that this is a good year for travel. It would make me very happy to have my trip occur as planned and also have your move to Kansas occur smoothly. Good luck with that.
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From:philrancid
Date:February 1st, 2006 08:54 am (UTC)
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Thanks. We shall wish the luck upon each other, yes?
From:raki
Date:January 31st, 2006 12:42 pm (UTC)
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Dude, you've been talking about doing this for as long as we've been friends. I cannot tell you how inspiring and thrilling it is that you're finally underway. Although I know you liked your job, I also know you've felt like you were just coasting along, and trying to get you finances back on track, all the while keeping in mind that it's not really where you wanted to be forever.

I have no idea what your plans are, but I hope you keep in touch and post photos and things, cos it's something I'd really like to follow.

Good luck. Don't die. Come back with lots of cool stories.
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From:baxil
Date:February 1st, 2006 08:18 am (UTC)
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Thanks! Yeah, I've put enough sweat into this already. It's very good to see it coming together. And it's one hell of a morale boost to be making such visible progress on my long-term goals ... but that's a topic for another post.
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From:sashajwolf
Date:January 31st, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC)
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Wow! That sounds amazing.
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From:cloakable
Date:January 31st, 2006 03:46 pm (UTC)
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Sounds good. Are you going to be making voice posts while you're out there in the wilderness?
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From:ranamo
Date:January 31st, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
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Right on dude.

Whatever your passion is, seize it... Sound's like you have.

This means I won't see you at BC this year though, yes?

I'd like to prompt firestrike to include something about this in the newsletter.

*cheers*
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From:baxil
Date:February 1st, 2006 11:09 am (UTC)
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A virtual certainty of no BayCon 2006 for me. I could plan to hitch back to SJ that weekend, but I'll be in SoCal and it'll put me a full weekend behind and potentially inconvenience hiking partners.

Oddly enough, we've already talked about the name-drop possibility. But do prod him. The more people say "We should mention this!" the more the chance he can find room for it.
From:glitterychaos
Date:January 31st, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
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I am so incredibly envious! I doubt I`d ever plan such a hike myself, I`ve never been great at covering miles, but it is a trememdous accomplishment that every backpacker I`ve talked to (myself included) aspire to. Brightest of Blessings on your walk!
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From:baxil
Date:February 1st, 2006 11:10 am (UTC)
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Thanks! Yeah, it's quite a goal ... and these days, I suspect it's the life commitment rather than the mileage that stops most.
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From:summer_jackel
Date:January 31st, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC)
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YAY!

I am so proud of you and happy for you that you are finally doing this. :D
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From:arethinn
Date:January 31st, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
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Wow... how does one provide food and water during such a long journey? Do you have to know how to forage and find water? Or does this trail go by towns where you could occasionally pick up some supplies?
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From:elynne
Date:January 31st, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
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*hughughughughughughug* :D
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From:balinares
Date:January 31st, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC)
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This sounds absolutely awesome. I envy you a little. :) Good luck with it! I hope you'll have a great time!
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From:r_caton
Date:January 31st, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC)
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By 'eck! Good luck, God speed, and may it be all you hope for....
Damn but that's a noble undertaking.
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From:frameacloud
Date:February 1st, 2006 02:55 am (UTC)
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Omigosh, wow! That's a really huge journey... what a cool idea. With a lot of planning beforehand, too. Wow.

You'll have to tell us a lot about your motivations for this. It's clearly very important.

I admit that a bit of me is going, "No online appearances of Baxil for several months? Oh no!" :P

I'm figuring you already know all about navigating and surviving on a hike, so that's okay. You'll do well. Do take a lot of digital camera photos; the memory cartridges store more photos and weigh less than film, and you never know when you'll have a chance to photograph something really amazing. However, you've probably already got that covered, too.
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From:baxil
Date:February 1st, 2006 11:14 am (UTC)
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I'll pull out the motivation to a separate post, even though it's probably not as long a story as that makes it sound. And I won't be disappearing entirely, even if I do fail in the "liveblog the trip" push -- though that's something I wanted to give a post of its own to.

Equipment is another post of its own, and if you're sensing a theme here ... ];=8)

Like I said, one step at a time. If I tried to explain this all at once, I'd get overwhelmed. I did for a few months. So I'll chip away at it with the months I've got left.
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From:baxil
Date:February 21st, 2006 01:35 pm (UTC)
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For the record: Motivations post is up. FAQ post will follow ... probably later this week.
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From:lysana
Date:February 1st, 2006 06:47 am (UTC)
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Wow. What an amazing goal. I wish you the best of luck in achieving it. I also don't envy BayCon the loss of one of its finer jackals this year.
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From:necama
Date:February 1st, 2006 08:14 pm (UTC)
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I hope it goes better than the last time I tried to go backpacking with you. ^__^;;
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From:baxil
Date:February 2nd, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
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Oh, it will. This time I have health insurance.

So: either nothing will get broken, or I'll get struck by a meteor.
From:lhexa
Date:February 5th, 2006 05:04 am (UTC)
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*grins* Take a notebook.
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