You walked how far? 


I know, it's not the kind of thing that most people think of when considering how to spend their leisure time. How did I ever get started into this strange world of backpacks and blisters? I should probably start with Switzerland.

 

In 2011 I took a trip to Europe to visit a friend see a bit of the world. My time in Switzerland was short but powerful. Two days in the Lauterbrunnen valley was all it took for me to fall in love with the mountains. I grew up in central Ontario, Canada - not a mountainous region by any stretch of the imagination, so my first sight of the real thing left quite an impression. A child of Tolkien and Middle Earth, it felt almost like I was in another world as I looked up at the towering faces of the Monch, Eiger, and Jungfrau. After meeting some other travellers at the hostel we agreed to hike up the Schilthorn the following day. At nearly 10,000ft and with clear skies the view was wonderful. I returned home with a small stone in my backpack and a seed in my mind.

Fast forward a few years later and I was in my last year of university. I had been spending the last couple weeks of each summer on short hiking trips and was browsing online for my next candidate when I began reading about the John Muir Trail and then learned that it overlapped with the Pacific Crest Trail. When I clicked around to read further my eyes grew wide - I had no idea hiking trails of such length existed, let alone could be hiked in their entirety in a single season! I was fascinated, and after some deliberation I decided to dive in. Why not? I had some money from my student loans still left, and what would another few grand of student debt matter in the long run? Besides, this would be the perfect time to travel while I didn't have any commitments - once back home in the fall I'd be settling into a career as an adult and wouldn't have time to do something like this ever again! How very wrong I was...

In the front country my name is Dylan Ivens, but on the trail I'm known as RightOn! I'm fairly sure that I hold the World Record for Most Miles Hiked with the Same Disposable Spoon. His name is Steve and as of 2018 we've put in around 8000 miles together. Stay away from that cold peanut butter, buddy.

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© Mountains and Me 2018