A run to a view

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July 14, 2012. Along the Pacific Crest Trail near Stabler, Washington. About 2,185 miles from Mexico.

Sprinting through the dense trees, I couldn’t shake that feeling that something was chasing me. In that moment I remembered the time I was backpacking in Glacier National Park and while stepping over a little stream, noticed a bear’s paw print in the soft mud that was still filling with water. We never met, but the image is burned into my memory.

Along the Pacific Crest Trail, near Stabler, Washington, I stopped running and scanned and listened. Nothing. No movement. Silence, except for the thumping in my chest. Sweat filled my eyes as I tried to out wait whatever it was that was not really there. I began to move along again and crossed a stream, there was no paw print this time.

Exploring several stretches of the Pacific Crest Trail this summer, I’ve come to realize that those through-hikers spend a lot of time in the trees. Long, quiet stretches of trees and trail. Even the birds seem quieted. I imagine those folks begin to hear things. I imagine the pace quickens now and then when they suddenly imagine that they might not really be alone.

But when I crest a rise and there’s a view of an isolated valley, buffered by distant peaks, spread out in front of me, I understand what it is that’s always chasing me, pushing me to the top.

for more from this series focused on running click here

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July 14, 2012. Along the Pacific Crest Trail.

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July 14, 2012. Along the Pacific Crest Trail.

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July 14, 2012. Along the Pacific Crest Trail.

all content © 2012 Tim LaBarge

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