Not to be confused with the Pacific Crest Trail, the Pacific Northwest Trail runs for nearly 1,200 miles from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. Two-Heel Drive reader and blogger Greg Seitz interviewed a friend of his who hiked all those miles over two months this past summer. The hiker is Sam Haraldson. From Part 4 of the interview:

Although not formally educated as such I feel as though I found Zen while walking in the woods. Life reduced to its simplest parts, sustenance and shelter being your only concerns one is forced to grasp life at its minimum. Stripping away the intricacies of society the mind far better grasps the relationships not of one person to another but rather one person to the world. Kicking your foot mid step knocks over a plant which ultimately rots into compost making way for new life. A pebble thrown into a pond creates ripples of water which send ripples into the air and so on and so forth.

This rippling effect followed me back into society and strengthened my beliefs in the interconnectedness of all things. It boosted my beliefs that people must be good to each other as the ripples arenít just in the water, but in the conversations we have with others as well. As my sister-in-law loves to quote, ìLive well, laugh often and love much.î

Sam’s an ultra-lighter, so of course there’s a discourse on gear.

All the gear I brought I hold in the highest regard but a few items stand out as being very superb. As the year comes to an end and I determine my 2007 favorites I predict the list will be topped by two items. One being the Bushbuddy Ultra backpacking wood stove and second being the Montbell Thermawrap jacket. These two pieces of gear packed the highest value per ounce of anything I carried with me.

Hey, I have one of those Thermawraps — handy to have around, even on day hikes near civilization.

The interview starts here.

Sam’s hiking pages start here. His photo album is here.

Sounds to me like the PNT is an excellent alternative to the PCT, particularly if you haven’t got a free six months to spend hiking.