4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Guess Who I Found on the PCT!

My idea was to collect a series of individual stories from hikers who have undertaken the 2640-mile journey on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico (on the edge of Campo) to Canada.The official kick-off was a few weeks ago and hundreds began the trek.

In Julian, where I live, we are at the 80-mile point on the trail. We are between Scissors Crossing and Warner Springs so hikers usually start showing up in town at the end of their fourth day. They are easy to spot in town with their gear.

I expected to find people on a vision quest, or some journey of transformation like climbing Mount Everest. Nope. The number one reason I have found for being on this trail is homelessness! These are our upper class poor trying to manage with some dignity. These people had jobs and homes and lives. I can tell. I've talked to dozens of them now.

The first thing I noticed that seemed odd was seeing how many of them paid for their groceries with a food stamp card. I suppose I thought that only financially strong people had the time and resources to take up to six months off work to do this trail.

Then I start visiting with them one-on-one. Those weren't hikers' eyes. They were very tired eyes. Far too tired for this early in the journey I thought. Their stories grabbed my heart. I ended up praying with many of them. Yes, there were a few on a vision quest. One man even brought two valets with him to do all the work. He had many gadgets to help him along.

These people are the ones who didn't have family and wouldn't go to the streets and shelters or suffer the indignity of begging for food, clothes and shelter. Abraham Maslow would be setting off flares at the potential for human loss. He was an early psychologist who felt like people had the inner resources to heal themselves and actualize but their basic needs had to be met. He described a ladder of needs and if the basics-food, air, water weren't met, actualizing as a human may not occur.

If so many of us are scrambling for survival, how can we expect to advance as a society? We're going backwards here. The PCT and other trails are not the answer to homelessness, joblessness and the massive recession our country is shuddering from.

Instead of caving under the stress or falling for the false relief of the many addictions that plague us, these trekkers-many solo- decided to spend months, not of finding themselves, but of finding the strength to carry on. At the end of this trail lies an even harder trail of uncertainty and despair if the world doesn't change while they are on the PCT.

God I hope it does. Please let it happen that the shift occurs-be it economic or spiritual. Whatever it takes should be done to create room in our society for everyone who wants to work. I pray for homes, jobs and resources for all these brave, determined walkers if that's what they need. We can't lose people with this much spirit. We need them and they really need us NOW!

Peace Be With You, SherryD

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Indicted Trump donor funded Doug Manchester hotel

David Alvarez scores with LA's Kilroy Realty and ambulance firm AMR
Next Article

Bub’s Berry Smash: mulling over the mule

A really refreshing cocktail for summertime.

My idea was to collect a series of individual stories from hikers who have undertaken the 2640-mile journey on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico (on the edge of Campo) to Canada.The official kick-off was a few weeks ago and hundreds began the trek.

In Julian, where I live, we are at the 80-mile point on the trail. We are between Scissors Crossing and Warner Springs so hikers usually start showing up in town at the end of their fourth day. They are easy to spot in town with their gear.

I expected to find people on a vision quest, or some journey of transformation like climbing Mount Everest. Nope. The number one reason I have found for being on this trail is homelessness! These are our upper class poor trying to manage with some dignity. These people had jobs and homes and lives. I can tell. I've talked to dozens of them now.

The first thing I noticed that seemed odd was seeing how many of them paid for their groceries with a food stamp card. I suppose I thought that only financially strong people had the time and resources to take up to six months off work to do this trail.

Then I start visiting with them one-on-one. Those weren't hikers' eyes. They were very tired eyes. Far too tired for this early in the journey I thought. Their stories grabbed my heart. I ended up praying with many of them. Yes, there were a few on a vision quest. One man even brought two valets with him to do all the work. He had many gadgets to help him along.

These people are the ones who didn't have family and wouldn't go to the streets and shelters or suffer the indignity of begging for food, clothes and shelter. Abraham Maslow would be setting off flares at the potential for human loss. He was an early psychologist who felt like people had the inner resources to heal themselves and actualize but their basic needs had to be met. He described a ladder of needs and if the basics-food, air, water weren't met, actualizing as a human may not occur.

If so many of us are scrambling for survival, how can we expect to advance as a society? We're going backwards here. The PCT and other trails are not the answer to homelessness, joblessness and the massive recession our country is shuddering from.

Instead of caving under the stress or falling for the false relief of the many addictions that plague us, these trekkers-many solo- decided to spend months, not of finding themselves, but of finding the strength to carry on. At the end of this trail lies an even harder trail of uncertainty and despair if the world doesn't change while they are on the PCT.

God I hope it does. Please let it happen that the shift occurs-be it economic or spiritual. Whatever it takes should be done to create room in our society for everyone who wants to work. I pray for homes, jobs and resources for all these brave, determined walkers if that's what they need. We can't lose people with this much spirit. We need them and they really need us NOW!

Peace Be With You, SherryD

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
2

That is an interesting perspective. Have you read the book Wild about a woman;s journey on the PCT from San Diego to Oregon? It is more about the stories you were thinking you would find.

July 9, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I will check out Wild on my Kindle. I have heard of it when the writer did the talk shows. Take care RRwriter.

July 10, 2013

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close