John's Walk

Pacific Crest Trail, California

Summer 2004

Photo galleries

A personal message from John

John's Trail Journal

Part One Is Over

Departing from the Mexican border near Campo on Monday, May 10th.
Those hand picked, hearty souls interested in joining the expedition need to be fit, of strong spirit and willing to help carry one, graying old man to the realization of a dream.

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Thursday, 7/1/2004, Update from Jacqueline
John left on Saturday, June 25th from Redondo Beach with Wilson Grant, Pat and Kevin Gould. When they arrived at a small market near Kennedy Meadows they were informed that because of a fire the trail was closed at that point. Obviously this was not welcome news for the travelers. But all turned out well. The next morning they went to the ranger station, I am not sure exactly which one, and figured out "Plan B". Appranetly this plan ended up working out better then doing the trail straight from Kennedy Meadows. Hopefully I will be able to get the names and exact locations from John when I speak to him again on Monday but in the meantime suffice it to say that they all had an incredible trip. Kevin, who is 12 I believe, did great. Wilson and Pat were awestruck at times by just how well organized and methodical John is when he is camping. It's a thing of beauty to watch. Wilson said that they really learned a lot from doing this hike. They also simply had an awesome adventure.

For David and I, we simply miss John. We went to Encinitas for a memorial for a friend's mother over the weekend. We got to renew friendships that have moved far away but have not been lessened with the distance. But it would have been much nicer had John been with us.

John changed traveling partners on Wednesday when he arrived near Mount Whitney. Wilson, Pat and Kevin handed him over to our friend Paul after a funfilled breakfast. Together Paul and John will go to Reds Meadow where Paul leaves the trail and our friend Rob joins it. Rob will meet John on July 8th. They should arrive at Tuolome Meadows on July 11th. That will be when Frank and Joy take David up. They will pick up John and all go into Yosemite Mountain Ranch together. Ellie and Larry will meet them there too. I was supposed to go up on Wednesday evening after work but have now been informed that we no longer have rooms after Wednesday night. When I know whether I can manage to get July 12 thru 14 off of work I will let you know. Cross your fingers for me because this was going to probably be the last chance for David and I to see John until he comes home in September. At least David will be able to go.

I hope all is well with you all. I will give John's laptop to David to bring to the Ranch for John to write a bit while they are there. The adventure begins again.

Tuesday, 6/1/2004, Whew
Please read Part One Is Over for an update.

Sunday, 5/30/2004, Back on the trail
John picked up the walk again this morning northbound from the Hwy 74 trail crossing. He hopes to be in Snow Creek Village by Tuesday night.

Wednesday, 5/26/2004, Field Dad
Hi there. I thought I would give you all an update from the home front:

John and I have realized that he is not only Dad at System Electric but on the PCT too. When we met up with four of the guys from the trail at lunch last Friday one of them mentioned that if John was running for office he would vote for him. At the time we had mentioned to one of the guys, Bill, that if he needed a lift to Big Bear from Idyllwild to give us a call and one of us could drive him. He has a bum knee and going down San Jacinto would have completely killed it. Well on Monday night Bill called and John picked him up yesterday. Bill is our first house guest in the garage/office/guest suite which isn't finished but Bill is a PCTer. He will stay until tomorrow when John will drop him off in Big Bear. He is a supper nice guy. A student of theatre arts at Vassar College. I'm sure tonight when David gets a chance to ask his twenty questions Bill will be exhausted by the end of it.

John also got a telephone call from Jimmy and Beck, the couple who started the same day as John from Campo. They were in Palm Springs checking in and asking about the name of a podiatrist because Beck has severe blisters like John.

And my last little tidbit. John arranged flowers for me again. He had not thought he would be home at this time. Have I mentioned how much I love this man?

Could a person ask to meet a better person on the trail? --Jacqueline

Saturday, 5/22/2004, Pinyon visit
Drove up to Pinyon this morning to visit John... aka PushToStart. (Read the trail journal for details.) He's home for a week to let his blistered feet heal before he continues the walk. There are new photo galleries online. --Florian

Wednesday, 5/19/2004, Home for a break
John is home for a bit of a break and to let his feet heal. He walked 46 miles in two days to get there!

Monday, 5/17/2004, Warner Springs
John just called me from Warner Springs - he is a day early even with taking a day and a half down because of the blisters. His feet do hurt every step he takes but he is determined to walk home. He is staying at the lodge, he took a shower and is now clean and ready for a nap. He met up with 5 guys there who he has been encountering along the way. They are all in their 20s, he is the old man of the trail.

A note to Rob, Kelly & Wilson: These days have been incredibly brutal but none have been as hard as Third Falls. That is the toughest hike he has ever done - honest.

His days have gone as follows:
     5/15 - Scissors Crossing the toughest of the days, 19 miles
     5/16 - 21 miles
     5/17 - 10 miles to Warner Springs and rest.

Two people along the way already told him that they thought doing this part of the trail was nuts and they were dropping out and going up to Kennedy Meadows to continue from there. Several more have already dropped out too. Maybe the tenacity comes with age.

I can't tell you how proud I am to be his wife. --Jacqueline

Friday, 5/14/2004, Mt. Laguna Visit
On my way to San Diego I met up with John at the Laguna Campground. He is doing great. The night before he had been invited for dinner by a nice couple in the campsite next to him. Their son had done the PCT the year before.

John was patiently waiting at the entrance soaking his blistered feet looking blissful. After a huge hug we drove up the road a ways to another campsite so that John could show me where he would be if the foot care I had brought didn't give enough relief. Either he would be there waiting for my return from San Diego or a note would be left under a rock on a water tank. I found the note saying that he was pushing on and would call me when he arrived at Warner Springs.

We drove back down to the trail-head, said our good-byes, and that was it. A half hour.

That's it for now. David and I can't wait for him to get home for a visit. We have so many things to tell him, especially David. When John does get here we will be able to get the pictures he has too. Then we can update the site with that too. --Jacqueline

Wednesday, 5/12/2004, Mt. Laguna
John just called. He's making amazing time. He arrived at Mt. Laguna at 12:30pm. Aside from some blisters on the bottom of his feet he's feeling great. He will probably be at Warner Springs on Sunday and if he continues at the pace he's at now he will be home earlier than expected. --Jacqueline

Wednesday, 5/12/2004, Flowers
How wonderful is that man I married? I just received Casablanca Lilies from him. He arranged the delivery for today before he left. How many people do you think are out there who are that thoughtful and loving? I just had to share. --Jacqueline

Monday, 5/10/2004, Day 1, Departure
John is underway! He started his walk northward from Campo this morning. Photos are here.

Map of PCT through California

Map of entire PCT

Pacific Crest Trail Association

© 2004 John Purcell