El Camino De Quinalt Part Duex – Day 1

I had intended to retrace my 2003 trip in the summer of 2013, but I had knee trouble which prevented it. Looking back now, it just wasn’t “the time” to do it. So this trip is a numerically lop-sided, 11th anniversary pilgrimage of a “first-of-it’s-kind” trip I took through the Olympic National Park. I followed the same route, camping in the same places with a only one exception.

I brought with me copies of “The Book of the Dun Cow” by Walter Wannegren (a last minute inspiration to re-read the book which introduced me to the concept of living monastically outside of a monastery), “No Man is an Island” by Thomas Merton, the Celtic Daily Prayer, a copy of my journal from the 2003 trip and the Bible.


Sunday August 31, 2014 – Mary Falls, Elwah River

11 years later and I read familiar words. The fear. The shame. Feeling ridiculous. I feel like a faker. My “breakdown” hasn’t been like other trips, though. About 4 hours in something DOES hit me just like last time. This time, though, it had a quality of feeling “trapped”; committed to the next 6 days with NO alternatives. That feeling is incomplete, though. There is something beneath the feeling of “trapped”.

The fear of being alone, however, has nearly vanished. I didn’t realize that until I started writing just now.

Anxiety: yes

Shame: yes

Loneliness: no


When I say “breakdown” I refer to what has become for me a predictable, consistent experience when I first depart on these kinds of trips, eloquently described by Anne Morrow Lindbergh:

“It is a difficult lesson to learn today, to leave one’s friends and family and deliberately practice the art of solitude for an hour or a day or a week. For me, the break is most difficult…”

Rick and I spoke about journaling as we drove out here. He talked of how he had once written to himself as if he was 10 years in the future – a thought exercise in which he asked, “what would my future-self say to my present-self?

10 years later, he read that entry again – from the time his future self had supposedly spoken.

Rick said, “I realized that the guy from the future (whom I thought would be so much wiser and together) was really pretty much the same guy I was 10 years ago!”

I feel that to an extent. This anxiety is familiar – but it HAS changed. It’s less intense.

Certainly, relationships and circumstances have changed. I think I will populate a list of significant changes since the last time I sat here at Mary Falls on the first night of the trip and cried, back  in 2003. Though, even now, as I write – I know these tears are made of different stuff. Who knows, maybe I’ll be told what this “stuff” is before I’m done with this trip.

Changes: (in no particular order – just stream of consciousness)


Mom died

Dad died

Kellie got married

Travelled to Brazil 3 times

Travelled to the U.K. twice

Traveled to N.Y. once

Became an ordained minister

Celebrated 15, 20 and 24 year wedding anniversaries

Brenda and I survived the “Shit Storm of ‘06”

G’s left

B left

J’s left

E left

B and A left

M came…and left

Alick and Jeanne married

D left

H left

Caperoons and Lindholms arrived

Recorded with TWBA

Had a band with Brenda and Jeff for 5 years

“Found” the Northumbria Community”

Started gardening again

Hiked the desert alone for a week

Hiked the Pacific coast alone for a week

Hiked the North Cascades alone for a week

Logged around a thousand total miles of hiking

Embraced simplicity and monasticism as lifestyle

Lots of babies were born

Robyn was baptized

Lots of new people arrived

Lots of people DIDN’T leave

I’m wearing reading glasses as I write this

Using walking sticks to hike

Taking pictures with a very powerful, portable computer (still called “phone”)


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