Most trail journalers are far better
hikers than writers, which means a fair amount of tedium trolling for bits of
Trail Journal entries that seem postworthy. One correspondent whose prose stands
out from the rest is Funnybone,
who’s already been out on the Pacific Crest Trail for most of a month. Snippets
from some recent entries:

At mile 291

Side trips, you see, are much tougher mentally—and quite often physically—than
trail miles. For one, they generally mean you’re out of supplies and headed
into town for more. This is a good thing in that your pack weighs next to
nothing, but a bad thing because you NEED more, specifically food, and when
you’re low on food, you’re low on energy. Side trips are also on unknown,
untested trails and while Highway 18 was hardly unknown, judging by the number
of cars passing by, it was still far too far to walk along a road without
shoulders. So, anyhow, my attempt at catching a ride was about as successful
as the war in Iraq to those that have died during it. In other words, not
at all. One by one, cars flew by at an alarming rate. Most these weren’t cars
at all but SUV’s, which from my understanding stands for ‘Super-sized Ultra-wasteful
Vehicle’. Each one seemed bigger and uglier than the last; most were larger
than many third world villages.

At mile 267

The remainder of the day took me past two young section hikers, TJ and Uriah,
from Ann Arbor, Michigan. They started from I-10 three days back and are headed
to Big Bear City. TJ was an outspoken gal and worth a good laugh. Uriah looked
the quintessential long-distance hiker: goatee, tan, dirty. We didn’t talk
long as they were moving slower than even me. Shortly after out interlude
I reached 8,750 feet, my highest point yet. Snow was on every north facing
slope and made for slow(er) going. But for once, there were tracks ahead of
me. They belonged to a fellow by the name of ‘Witch Doctor’, who I’d met briefly
in Idyllwild. He was wearing a sarong at the time but I held back a snicker,
which was a good thing especially considering he had just gotten out of the
armed forces and a stint in Iraq. The guy could’ve killed me with his pinkie.
(Note to self: if you’re going to laugh at others, make sure you can take

At mile 252

Let me first mention these pine cones before moving along. Though I only
saw one or two today, these suckers are impressive in every sense of the word:
their size is gargantuan; they weigh as much as a bowling ball (up to 8 pounds);
plus, they are sharp like nobody’s business (pointy, not witty) and consequently…deadly.
In 2002, I added up up all the risks I might face on my thru-hike: bears,
mountain lions, rattlesnakes, hypothermia, parasitic infection, chronic dehydration,
chronic boredom, acute mountain sickness, high-altitude pulmonary edema, Lyme
disease, sprains, strains and other pains, ticks bites, Hanta virus, West
Nile virus, gingivitis and explosive diarrhea (which is pretty much the norm
for me) and the like…and not once did pine cones ever enter my mind.

And so it was when a coulter pine tree set one free from its branches a hundred
feet above (and not far from here) I didn’t think twice about it. That is
until it brushed off my left shoulder nanoseconds prior to impact with good
ol’ Terra Firma. It was too late to faint but I signed myself up nonetheless.
The thing would surely have killed me had it been a few inches over to the
right, but I suppose I’d never have known about it, even as it entered my
mind. Early settlers named them “coffin cones” and for obvious reasons. Anyway,
nowadays, I go wide around these lethal trees and take my feet, and my chances,

You really have to read his posts in their entirety to get the full vibe, but
for my money he’s one of the most fun writers on the trail this year.