Ballard and Walker: PCT Thru-Hikers
June 30, 2000Day 54Vermillion Valley, CaliforniaAngela's Diary: My sophomore year of college I took "An Introduction to Art History" at Bryn Mawr College. Seated in a dim auditorium I'd gaze blankly at the screen while Professor Katz narrated his slide show with tales of texture, color, form, and of course, unmatched beauty. I learned why Michelangelo's David is so spectacular, that Picasso will change the way you view a guitar, and why Monet's Water Lilies are breathtaking from near and far. But until I stood in front of these masters' works at the Louvre, the Barnes, and the MOMA respectively, I couldn't really wrap my mind around all that "beauty" talk. Sure I could regurgitate the who, what, when, and wheres in my exam book. I could say "These are objects of great significance," but my words had no grounding. I was merely repeating the dogma.
So began my relationship with the Sierra, "THE Mountains." All PCTers look forward to the Sierra, it's just the thing to do. When your throat is dry or you've just gulped down half-a-liter of water filtered from a pool of cow patties, you say "We'll drink 'champagne water' in the Sierra." When you're sweaty, dusty, and hot you say "Won't it be wonderful to swim in the glacial pools in THE mountains?" And when you just can't stand the sight of desert sagebrush anymore you exclaim "In the words of the great John Muir 'Let's blow this taco stand.'"
I'm a sheep, I'll admit it. I followed the Sierra shepherd wherever he went, I said all the obligatory things and dreamed all the necessary dreams. I was so anxious to get into the Sierra but really only because everyone told me I should be. And when I finally arrived, well, I couldn't believe my eyes.
Of course in telling you this, I am asking that you too jump on the Sierra bandwagon. But if you've been here, hopefully I'll bring back fond memories for you, and if you haven't, maybe you'll be inspired to come and see for yourself. Don't take my word for it because my words can't do these peaks, meadows, lakes, and forests justice.[MORE. . .]
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication