“Severe drought. Conserve water.” That’s what California highway signs say these days. They don’t tell us exactly how to do that. The foothills are golden brown, as every yeqr. The wildflowers in the mountains are in full bloom. Is it their effort to fight the drought?
We hiked a few miles on the PCT, which near Carson’s pass is a well-traveled highway. Clouds were lingering for 2 days over our heads. At night, finally, rain drops hit our tent. Not enough to wet the ground. Not enough to make a difference.
At night, I finished “Finding Everett Ruess”. An amazing story that has been told many times by now and I believe, the final word has not been written, yet. The parallels to Chris McCandless are obvious, with notable exceptions. Chris stopped communicating with his parents during his quest, while Everett stayed in regular contact writing and receiving letters even in extremely remote places. While Chris’ body was found a few weeks after his death, the Ruess family never learned the final fate of their beloved Everett, instead they were taken for a ride many times over by crooks, and shady characters looking to benefit from the hope and despair of a family in search of a son and brother that had disappeared in the desert.
I feel the cult around Everett and Chris is a reflection on the fascination of our human society with tragedy, as both adventurers did not seek notoriety during their life time, quite the contrary. They followed their dreams. They died following their dreams. This makes good material for books and movies, because we love it.
I am sitting on the fence here. I did hike to the bus on Stampede trail, and would describe it as a spiritual experience. I do love the Southwest and the relics of the native cultures. I would not go as far as idolizing Chris, Everett, and many other lone travelers. It seems to me, they did not cope well with society. They chose to travel alone, which gave their life purpose. Stable, suitable company remained elusive to them until their untimely death.
“Happiness is only real when shared.” – Chris McCandless