Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 71 to 72 - Reno!

July 5-6
Day 71 to 72
Miles:  10
Total Miles:  1094

View of Lake Tahoe from the PCT
Zero Day in Reno!!  I heard about Harrah's Hotel and Casino via world of mouth on the trail - at $39/night, Harrahs is cheaper than staying at South Lake Tahoe - even with transportation factored in.  So, after a quick ten mile hike into Echo Lake with Yankee Son and Hallmark, I caught a ride to South Lake Tahoe and then took a four hour bus ride with two transfers to reach Reno.

Walking into Harrah's,  I immediately felt out of place.
 Still dirty and un-showered with oily, dusty hair and backpack stains on my shirt, I checked in with a lovely smelling young lady at the front desk for two nights.  On my way to the elevators I spied a Quiznos restaurant and although the all-you-can-eat dinner was just a shower and short walk away, I picked up a large sandwich and brought it up to my room.  I couldn't decide what I needed the most, a shower or food, so I brought the sandwich into the shower!  At dinner an hour later, I piled 3 plates with whatever looked good and proceeded to put Harrahs out of business single handedly.  Actually, I gave up after just another trip to the dessert bar and walked away defeated back to my room.

Reno is a conundrum to me.  This large city is centered around indulging in our least productive and most destructive instincts and habits:  gambling, drinking, sex, and...over-eating!  It was painfully obvious that I had entered a different world when i dined in the all-you-can-eat "Carver's Buffet".  I had traded skinny hikers cooking freeze-dried dinners over isobutane cooking stoves, for throngs of over-weight people sitting silently at their tables eating plate after plate of food - often leaving food half eaten while going back for more.  After all, they must get their $18 worth!  My hiker friends Yankee Son and Hallmark, who joined me for dinner, echoed this sentiment, voicing their confliction with their disgust at this kind of over-indulgence and their own participation in it.  We finally agreed that we were special cases and able to sling this judgement because we had walked 20-30 miles/day, 1100 miles, to get here over the past two months and our indulgence was a matter of survival...the need for calories.  Others here, we decided, had no excuse for their behavior except their own lack of self-control.  With this settled, I went up for a second desert:  a strawberry/bananna and chocolate crepe.

Joking aside, my weight is a real concern.  Before dinner I looked at myself in the full-length mirror in my room and my image reminded me of that Into The Wild scene of Alexander Supertramp staggering toward his magic bus in the Alaskan Wilderness, upper body bare and ribs stretching a thin frame as his body suffers from starvation and poisoning.  I have lost at least 15 pounds and have dropped below 150 for the first time since high~ chool.  These zero days in towns are critical to my overall health through-out this hike.

Another concern:  I have missed my (ex)wife severely on this last section.  I texted her and told her I could possibly fly home and end my hike after reaching the OR/CA border.  I hope this was not a mistake.  As soon as I said this I felt anxiety and regret about not completing my hike to Canada.  I hope I can talk to Des about letting me finish the entire hike...I don't want to disappoint her again but I would regret it and blame her if I could not make this dream to thru-hike the PCT a reality.


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PCT Northern Terminus

PCT Northern Terminus
On September 30, 2012 I reached the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. Thanks to everybody who supported and followed my journey. It was a life-changing experience!