Monday, December 7, 2015

August 26, 2015 - December 9, 2015

Well, so that's it.
I've been here.
New York City, Portland, 300 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, Berkeley, Scottsdale and Delray Beach have all seen me swiftly.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


I'm in Florida now.
I love Florida in many ways.
That's why I came here for three weeks- the longest time out of any of the locations I've been at.
And as it turns out, my grandfather likes my presence here, too. He likes my company, my occasional cooking, my driving the car instead of him.
And the time is flying.
Every place I've been at felt a little different and was characterized by different emotions. Florida was pretty laid-back. Watched a lot of TV, didn't read much, spent time with my aunt and uncles and cousins. I did a lot of thinking (as always), which usually kept me up at night and sometimes woke me up a few times during the night, but the thoughts didn't stress me out as much as thoughts usually do. Maybe when you think or worry about something so much it eventually becomes like a soft paste in your brain that oozes around steadily like a stoner. That's how I feel, anyway. Most of the time the thoughts - even the anxious ones - are like serene waves. Sometimes I'm anxious, but I take that as a given and don't fight it, and maybe the awareness toward it and the passivity is what actually does calm it.
Always toward the end of trips or vacations I get nervous again, and am not fully here nor there.
So right now I'm in the middle. All the memories in back of me seem faint, all that lies ahead is still a mystery.
And I'm excited to be going home.
Below are a photo from Thanksgiving, a photo of my breakfast one morning and another one of me happy with my breakfast, a photo outside at sunset, a photo with a really yummy ice pop, a photo at the beach.

Monday, November 30, 2015

"My dear friends, suppose someone is holding a pebble and throws it in the air and the pebble begins to fall down into a river. After the pebble touches the surface of the water, it allows itself to sink slowly into the river.
It will reach the bed of the river without any effort. Once the pebble is at the bottom of the river, it continues to rest. ... it allows itself to fall without making any effort.
Resting is a very important practice; we have to learn the art of resting.
We are always struggling; struggling has become a kind of habit. We cannot resist being active, struggling all the time.
It is very important to realize that we have the habit energy of struggling.
...When an animal in the jungle is wounded, it knows how to find a quiet place, lie down and do nothing. The animal knows that is the only way to get healed-to lay down and just rest.
In our consciousness there are wounds also, lots of pains. Our consciousness also needs to rest in order to restore itself. Our consciousness is just like our body.
...We worry so much about healing, which is why we do not get the healing we need. Only if we know how to allow them to rest can our body and our soul heal themselves.
...But there is in us what we call the energy of restlessness. We cannot be at peace with ourselves. ... and that kind of restlessness makes us unhappy.
The Buddha said that the past is gone and the future is not yet here. Let us not regret the past. Let us not worry about the future.
...the present moment is the only moment where you can touch life."
-Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk, teacher, poet, peace activist.

(Photo from Green Cay the other day)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ashland (delayed post)

Hey, I don't think I ever posted anything about Ashland!
Well, my two favorite cities in Oregon were Portland and Ashland. I started out in Portland and ended up a little over a month later in Ashland, which is in southern Oregon.
When Bob and I finished our 32-day hike at Fish Lake, we got a cab to Medford, Oregon, and Bob paid for two rooms in the Holiday Inn Express. The next morning he flew home to Minnesota, and I decided I'd go to Ashland (I didn't want to skip Ashland, if I was already so close, like 15 miles away...) Bob so generously prepaid by phone for me to stay at a Holiday Inn Express in Ashland and gave me some cash, and I set off from Medford by bus. Well, I meant to go by bus. But near the bus stop was a grocery store, and I went in to buy a snack and ask which side of the street the bus will be on. A woman answered me, and as I was walking back to the stop, she was driving out of the parking lot with a man. They stopped and asked if I want a lift. The man said he was driving all the way to Ashland (but that he'll be dropping the woman off and then stopping at home first). I said sure, that's where I need to go, and got in and stuffed my backpack in next to me. The man dropped the woman off somewhere in Medford and then we continued on. We stopped in front of a small house and the man hopped out. "By the way," he said. "That's a loaded gun over there."
Right next to me was a fucking loaded gun.
I wasn't scared, more flattered that he trusted me. I trusted him.
I wondered why the heck he thought he needed to go around with a loaded gun (I did ask him about that afterward. Seemed like he felt he wants to be able to "save the day" and shoot down a crazy gunman if one happens to show up somewhere).
My oh my.
We got to Ashland, the guy let me off  RIGHT in the center of town, which was awesome. Downtown Ashland is pretty much three blocks long, with shops and restaurants. Many of the shops are vintage/artsy-craftsy shops, and hippies sat and played music in the main square, which gave the whole downtown a nice atmosphere.
This day and the next day were probably the days I felt F R E E S T on my whole trip. I really felt so wonderful walking the streets alone, being surrounded by friendly people, nice weather, plenty of vegan food, cute shops... This is what I love, really. But most importantly (above the physical surroundings), I was internally free, at that time and space.
And that was good.

From the hotel to downtown and back, twice, I ordered a cab from the same company. And all the drivers were women, and with all of them I had interesting conversations.
Maryann said she's also active, but in something else. She's actively against abortions.
Eventually she asked me if I believe in god, if I believe in a higher spirit. "Well, perhaps," I said. "I'm not religious but I'm spiritual."
With Dana I also had an interesting conversation but I don't remember it anymore. Oh right, she had a dog kennel. And there was D.J., but I don't remember what we talked about.
I told the three of them about the trek.
Maryann couldn't believe.
When I got into the cab with Maryann, I told her last night I drove with Dana, and then she was on the phone with Dana and said "I'm with Miriam... You know, the hiker from Israel!" And then I could hear Dana laughing happily on the other end and Maryann laughing too. They were two sweet women.
Maryann said to me, "I'm gonna remember you for a long time!" When I got out of the cab.

So that was Ashland.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


I just remembered a lesson I learned when I tried to save a baby bird.

At my (outdoor) workplace about a year ago, a baby bird fell out of a tree, and was lying there in the corner curled up. A tiny, helpless being, not even chirping, barely moving. The guy with the airblower wanted to just blow her away and I begged him to shut off the thing until I get her. I gently scooped her up into an open box and placed her next to me until the workday was over. Then I walked with her to my next job, and from there got a ride to a man who specializes in bird care. The bird was still barely moving. The kind woman who drove me to where the man would meet me, told me to cup my hands over the bird, because my body heat can revive her. I did that, and right then she started flapping her wings for the first time! It was amazing, like a miracle. The simple warmth from my hands around the chick's body practically saved her!
She was so young and so fragile that she died a few days later but I got to see how simply sharing body warmth with a helpless creature can be life-altering.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Another post (an afterthought) about the Pacific Crest Trail

I am practically forgetting what being on the trail was like...
I remember thinking before the trek that after it I'd feel so accomplished, and that when I eventually would go back home to Israel I'd feel so great having done what I was about to do. But I don't have that feeling at all. I feel that the memory is fleeing from me, as if it happened in the blink of an eye and I can barely catch a glimpse of it now...
So I'd like to write an additional post about the trail (additional to the one I wrote on this blog about 4 weeks ago, which I shortened by the way, so you may wanna go read that, or the whole blog for that matter. I'm pretty proud of this whole blog) so that maybe I can revive the memories, even for just a little while.

I had no idea really what I was about to do. I knew I was going to be driving with Cameron in a shuttle/bus (which ended up being a private driver in a limo) from the hotel Cam was staying at, to Timberline Lodge, where Bob and Paula had been since two days prior, after they had hiked a few days together. From there Paula would go back to Portland and then home, and Bob, Cameron and I would start backpacking through Oregon (Cameron hiked with us for five days). I had never backpacked before for more than five days, but I was confident I'd make it the whole 32 days even without what would be considered sufficient preparation. Some people were a little skeptical, or even outright against my trek (not that it mattered. I'm my own independent human being) because I was going to be hiking with a male, a "stranger" I had met on the internet, and for so long! Out in the wilderness! It's not safe in the wilderness! But public opinion didn't matter much to me once I decided this is what I'm going to do. That decision happened while watching the movie "Wild" with S in the theater. It must have been around April. I was so inspired by the movie (by the movie-making - the acting, the videography) and by Cheryl Strayed's difficulties, suffering and courage, that I decided that I'd do this. Why not?

So, I did it. Bob later told me he and Cam thought I'd bail out after the first few days, when I had aching blisters between my toes...
But I honestly didn't even consider bailing out.
Later, the blisters went away, or I ignored them (one or the other, I'm not sure), and my knees started hurting me. They hurt a lot. Walking downhill (or down steps) was especially hard because of the bend the knee needs to do. I kind of stepped down sidely, slowly, with the help of the trekking poles. I limped for a few days, maybe a week, maybe more. It didn't bother me much. I joked that worse comes to worst my knees will be forever damaged, but I didn't actually believe that. I know my body is young and strong and can heal itself... And can endure pain... And can keep walking, one foot after the other, all day long...

And that's exactly what we did.
We awoke in the morning, yelled good morning to each other from inside our tents (and commented on the weather if there was something unusual about it), got dressed, ate our breakfasts, folded up our stuff into our backpacks, and then folded our tents (and attached them to the top of the backpacks) and continued on the trail. (The campsites were usually along the trail. Sometimes campgrounds- which are fancier than campsites, with a picnic table and sometimes an outhouse- were a little way off the trail, so we'd get back on the trail in the morning.) Then we'd walk all day, which usually meant between 10 and 15 miles, and stopped for the night at another campsite...

During the day we sometimes walked together and sometimes separately. Usually after about a mile or two whoever was first would sit and wait for the other, and then we'd continue walking.
Sometimes we were silent, sometimes we talked (usually Bob talked. I didn't have so much to say. I asked questions, that I did. But when Bob asked if I also have stories I can tell I said I'm not good at telling stories. Bob was good at telling stories.)

He told me about how his father just died one day when he was a young boy, about his hardworking mother, about how he got out of being recruited to fight in Vietnam in the 60's, about his photojournalism career before he started AEI in the 70's, and about his wife and daughters. He also told me about his company (AEI) when I asked. (I kind of felt ignorant not knowing anything about finances... Well, even after his explanations I still know nothing. But having met Cameron and Paula and Bob, I got the feeling this company is quite unique in the type of [honest and kind] employees it has.) We had conversations about human nature, about Americans, about religion. We both held similar opinions on many issues, with Bob being a liberal and a feminist, but in other ways our lifestyles (and age, of course) were very different.
I was inspired by Bob in many ways and I think he was a little inspired by me too.

He mentioned quite a few times that he was so impressed by my courage at coming out here to hike, so far from home... I didn't feel so courageous, but I appreciated his saying that.

I mainly felt anxious and confused (about things unrelated to the trail). I tried so hard to just be there in spirit, and I thought I managed most of the time, but maybe the fact that the trail memory is fleeting now means I wasn't really there...
(Or maybe, at second thought, this is the type of big experience from which the memories will unfold and come to me over time.)
Looking back, I wish I was freer when I was out there.
I wish I had no strings attached to anyone or anything.
But of course that was impossible. It always is. I had so many aching and complicated strings attached...

But why, or how, am I missing life? Why is it rushing by me without letting me really soak in it? It's honestly so sad...

There were physical types of anchors (like the "spot" device) which effected my mental feeling and hindered my spiritual freedom.

I did not gain from this trek all that I wanted. (But I WAS there, experiencing it all while it was happening.)
Maybe that's why I don't feel accomplished.
I reached the "end line" with no feeling of excitement.

But it was, in many-a-way, great.

And I go back to the opening sentence of this post... I think it's not that I am already forgetting, but that I haven't yet remembered. As time goes by I remember more, and the memories become riper and better.

(More "afterthought" posts will come later, as I remember specific things from the trail.)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Scottsdale, Arizona

I am now in Scottsdale, Arizona.
I left California and arrived here (rode on the subway to the airport, got to the airport, went through the airport control, waited for the plane, boarded the plane, flew here and landed here and found my uncle outside in his car waiting to pick me up) with the same serene winds that I was able to engulf in when I was in California. I finished Buddha's Book of Meditation here in Scottsdale in the backyard of my uncle's house, sitting on a chair under an olive tree, in the warm desert air. I finished the book and walked back inside, only to be summoned by my weakness towards pop culture and by my lack of other occupations and, well... sat down and watched TV... Some of the TV shows here in America are just mind-rot material, in my humble opinion. So that was pretty bad. The amounts of money wasted on some of these mindless shows is s little tragic.

But anyway, meditation... I like trying to live in mindfulness meditation. It's hard because the winds in me change fast. My energies are positive and negative within minutes of each other... And in a way, I don't want to give up the anxiety, because I've come to know it so well and have it all figured out. But I want to let go of it, in spite of it being my pretend friend, because I want to give way to new attitudes, which will be able to bloom only when I rid the pessimism.
If I want to believe that I can be free and happy no matter what (which I am positive I can), that can only happen when I meditate freedom and happiness instead of imprisonment and bewilderment.

I stayed at my uncle's house for a few days, and then "moved" to my grandparents' house when they arrived here from their other home in Illinois.
At my uncle's I got to sleep at night with a cat curled up beside me (sometimes two, sometimes two cats and a dog), I got to sit out back in the large yard, I ate vegan food Meryl so kindly bought for me, saw Sedona again and went on a mini-hike there with them and their friends, I went to an art fair with Perry and Meryl, which was wonderful for the eyes and the heart, I went to a "hot yoga" class with Mari, I peeked in some "Indian" stores in downtown Scottsdale (I put ["] there because sometimes they aren't really authentically Indian anymore), got some ideas from those stores for things I'd like in my own house (like place mats, like the kind Ben&Steph have), and bought a little "Arizona" shot glass (which is something I like getting in different places I visit) with the Indian figure called Kokopelli, which I like. It's a flute player, known as a fertility god, a healer and a story-teller.

There are many myths of the famous Kokopelli. One of which is that he traveled from village to village bringing the changing of winter to spring; melting the snow and bringing about rain for a successful harvest. It is also said that the hunch on his back depicted the sacks of seeds and songs he carried. Legend also has it that the flute playing also symbolized the transition of winter to spring. Kokopelli’s flute is said to be heard in the spring’s breeze, while bringing warmth. It is also said that he was the source of human conception. Legend has it, everyone in the village would sing and dance throughout the night when they heard Kokopelli play his flute. The next morning, every maiden in the village would be with child.

Meryl and Perry are very hospitable. They welcomed me so warmly and insisted, "feel at home." My first evening in Arizona felt to me a little stumbly on my part, because it's hard for me to be good at speaking when I first come in contact with someone. I am verbally inept sometimes, and only when I get to know someone better or feel more comfortable around them, my brain is able to process my thoughts into more solid, audible and smart sentences. So that happened, already by the second day. But the first evening was a little word-mazed for me.

I've been with my grandparents for a few days now. I love their house. The high ceilings, white walls, large wall-length windows that allow the house to be filled with a soft light. And I love the landscape in Arizona... The desert mountains and also the flat terrains with cacti scattered sporadically. The sky is blue, against the orange terrain and architecture. The architecture is also something I like here.

When I was in Berkeley I went with Ben on a motorcycle ride up the hills, and we saw some homes that to me seemed like Greek architecture. Ben said that it's true that there are some Mediterranean-style homes here because apparently the climate is similar to the Mediterranean one. And I was trying to figure out what made the houses look Greek (or Mediterranean) versus houses that were "American". I walked around Berkeley the next day and understood some of the differences. And I think again of those differences here, where the architecture is not the typical "American" architecture:

American homes usually have panels, and the doors, windows and all edges are bordered. The windows are square and usually centered to each half of the house. The roofs are triangled and paneled as well. The ones that looked Greek, and some of the ones I see down here in Arizona (or at least in Scottsdale), are more like what mud-houses look like (which I love): They don't have borders, their edges just round around to the next side. The roofs are flat, look just the walls. And here the tones of the houses are all earth colors, which I also love, and the homes are low, one-floor large houses.

I'm reading a lot here, which is absolutely wonderful for me, as I LOVE acquiring knowledge but usually don't have the patience to sit at home and read books. So now I'm taking this opportunity to do just that. I read Khalil Gibran's "Prophet", I read "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", "The Kite Runner", "A Thousand Splendid Suns", "Buddha's Book of Meditation", (and during the trail- a booklet with texts by R' Kook, and the book "The Road Less Traveled", and before the trail- "Wild") and today I got three books on environmental issues from the library.

I've got 27 days left before I get on the plane back home.
I'm eager to get back home already, but since I'm here, I'm trying to enjoy Here.
Every moment is a moment of splendor.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Post-PCT: Berkeley, California I

I'm already writing a new post, even though the last one seems to me still hovering in the air like a thick cloud of bumble-bees. And maybe because of that, and not despite that, I want to write more. I feel the need to explain - after every long rant of specific emotions - that what I felt then is only part of a PROCESS of emotions, and that it is NOT the final word. It never is.
Writing down my precise feelings, aside from exciting me on the creative level of having written something with a certain aesthetic taste, helps me understand myself better than if the words were only written in my brain. When I read what I wrote (over and over and over again), I read it as if I'm reading someone else's story, and then I reconnect to it in an authentic way I was not able to connect to otherwise. And then I find which points have not yet found their deep roots of soil, and which have. I understand where I was mistaken in my understanding of myself, and where I may just not yet know it all.

I like Berkeley. A lot.
I like how there is a feeling of 'feng shui' when I walk down the streets. I feel that the size of the houses is proportionate to the width of the road, which is proportionate to the shape of the trees. (And the airspace proportionate to the matter-space.) And the colors and the architecture of the houses correspond with each other nicely, in a gentle array of tones. And the people are proportionate to the landscape, and do not look like tiny ants amidst high-rising buildings or never-ending roads. And the sky has been softly painted and the sun lights a delicate light.

I like Berkeley also because of all that came before it for me on this trip.
All that came before it lead me to be able to be in a wondrous meditative state of happiness.
I feel that this is the first time in my life that I am as calm as I'd like to be. I am IN PLACE in myself.

I hope this sense of serenity will not dissipate when I move on to my next destination, or when I fly back home to Israel and see myself melting back into the routine of life and the all-too-familiar landscapes and people.

It was Halloween a few days ago. We carved pumpkins and put candles in them. We ate butternut squash-and-bean chili and chai coconut ice cream, and we "scared" children who came to trick-or-treat. This was my first Halloween ever. It was my funnest, too.

Dominica sent me a gift from Portland. The shirt (here in the picture) and a beautiful wallet I saw when I was there but couldn't afford.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"How The Roots Become One With The Rocks And The Rocks Become Part Of The Tree"

He whose spirit does not roam the open spaces
He who does not demand the light of truth
And goodness with all his heart
Does not suffer inner ruins
But he also does not have individual buildings.
He is shaded by the natural ones
Like a rabbit who finds shelter in the rocks.
But the man,
Whose soul is in him,
His soul will not be sheltered
But by the buildings he builds in his own spiritual effort.

This post will have two parts, and you can decide which part interests you. The first part is the part I never really like when writing blogposts, but for some reason other people like: The plain, factual information. 
The second part will be about me, a human being inside the trail life. A human who likes to listen to her inner voices and her heart, to her craziness, neuroses and excitement. A human who writes without boundaries, because there should be none when searching ourselves. A human who loves openness and hates repression.
The dates written below are the actual dates the entries were written in my journal.
The photos were taken by me (except for the second to last one- the photo of the quote).

We started hiking on September 19th at Timberline Lodge, which is a lodge (built in the 1930's) at the base of Mt. Hood in northern Oregon. We hiked for 32 days along the Pacific Crest Trail and stopped hiking on October 21st at Fish Lake resort in southern Oregon. Our initial plan was to hike 15-18 miles a day, and I was planning on getting to Etna, California. But we realized already on the first day that we would only be able to hike an average of 10 or 11 miles a day. That's because a) we weren't running, and didn't want to; we weren't on a race. b) the hours of daylight (and sufficient heat in accordance to daylight) were limited to around 8 hours every day. We started hiking at 9, when it was warm enough to move, and stopped to set camp at 5, so that we'd be able to put up our tents and eat before the sun slid away behind the trees, leaving us very cold already at 7 or 7:30 pm. 8 was our usual bedtime. The nights were freezing, sometimes below 20 degrees (Fahrenheit, That's -6 degrees Celsius). The days varied from a high of 70 to a low of 45 or 50. The weather was generally pleasant during the day, which made this season overall a good time to hike (compared to the high season of PCT hiking, which is summer. They must have nice nights, but boiling days). There was one day when the weather was especially horrendous. It was the absolute worst day weather-wise, but was also one of the absolute most interesting days on the hike: A snow blizzard when we were at an altitude of around 6,500 or 7,000 feet, right after Jefferson Park. We walked on the ridge of a mountain with heavy winds blowing, heavy and wet fog, and snow. We set camp at the first possible opportunity so as not to keep hiking in these conditions, but even being in our tents was not a promise for heat or safety. The temperature and the wind were brutal. Bob made sure I was aware that this weather in fact was dangerous, and that if I do feel that my core is getting cold, I should not hesitate to take my sleeping bag and come into his tent, where the heat of two bodies will be greater than one alone. Luckily we made it through the night, in our own tents, and kept going the next day.
Sometimes when we stood on a montaintop and looked out at the terrain below, the air was so smuggy that we could just smile and say, "well, the view is beautiful, if only we could SEE it!" And at Crater Lake Bob added to that, "we'll have to Google it." Well, that's because Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful landmarks we had along the way, and almost missed the whole sight because of the fog. Sometimes the fog was eerily beautiful inside the forests. A sight that summer-hikers definitely don't get to see.
We passed through a few types of landscapes. The regular pine forest, burnt forest, and lava fields.
Each of those was beautiful and special in its own way for the first few days of our encounter with it, but then grew kind of repetitive and mundane after a while. Oregon doesn't change much. Bob and I didn't get sick of each other. I enjoyed listening to his stories, he enjoyed my company. I enjoyed telling him about Israel and about my moral ethics, and he enjoyed agreeing and sharing his own thoughts on morality. We talked a lot about religion, about Jesus, about belief systems and about culture. We laughed about my bad eyesight (my eyesight has worsened noticeably in the past 2 months), and enjoyed yummy meals in different restaurants along the way. He has two daughters just a few years older than me and told me about them, about his wife  and about his mother, I told him about my own family, and we became relatives, trail family, close acquaintances. Bob is generous, knowledgeable, intelligent, kind and poised. I watched how he spoke to people we met along the trail, the owners of the different resorts and waitresses in the restaurants, with a solid tune, a dignified voice and a flowing sensical speech, and gained from that the important inspiration of approaching people, which is something I have always been bad at. Every four or five days we stopped at a resort along the way and slept in their cabins for a night or two before returning to the trail. This gave us the opportunity to shower, wash our clothes and eat better-tasting food. The opportunity was possible thanks to Bob's wealth and generosity in paying for all of my accommodations along the trail. 
By the time we were nearing our last days of hiking, I was eager to finish it, to get to our end point. I felt like Salamanca in Walk Two Moons, when she drives with her grandparents and the trees say, "hurry hurry" and "rush, rush". When we got to Fish Lake, we didn't have the sensation of a grand ending. Nothing really happened. We got there, the place was closed for the season. They let us into one of the cabins to use the shower. Then we got a cab into Medford, where we each had a room in the Holiday Inn. That evening we went out for dinner, Bob let me choose. Not many vegan options in Medford, but I found a pizza place that has an "artificial" cheese. So we went there. And there we had a good closing dinner for the trail. We spoke about what we learned from it, what we enjoyed and less enjoyed, what we already miss, and how strange it is that it's already over.

Part II
This may be a long post, like part of a novel, where all the parts will eventually come together to be one solid me-ness. Or it could be a short post, with highlights that may not interact in a solid and fluid way, but will be more concise and easier to read. I'm not sure how to write it out, so let's just see how this unfolds...
I kept a journal on the trail. At first I scribbled down dry facts and short memories. My hands were not yet accustomed to the cold at night and it was hard to write.
When we left Big Lake Youth Camp, about 11 or 12 days into the trail, I was overwhelmed by a wave of aching thoughts, stemmed by a certain one dilemma, which I will call "The Dilemma", and somehow by now my hand was fluent with the pen twined inside my fingers, and was able to eagerly scribble away the words that flowed out of me.

First day on the trail.
Hard but not too hard.
I'm lonely, but not longing for any one person. 
Just a universal loneliness, with no strings attached to anyone.
It's easy to miss. 
To eagerly want to go back to a situation of safety, warmth and abundance.
It's so easy to be reminiscent of the intimacy, of the wonderful closeness
between me and a loved one.
It's automatic; my unlimited, unguided and desperate desire to be in warm familiar arms...
Hunters. Many of them around here. With their camouflage uniforms and long rifles, they seem to me the same kind of [violent] people who would join the US army, fly to a foreign country and kill people from a jet, like many American soldiers do but no one talks about. 
After Bob fed the birds nachos they kept coming back and some landed on the table next to us, where a woman was sitting across from her friend. After shooing them away again and again the woman finally slammed her hand on the table and cried out, "what is WRONG with these birds?" I was laughing inside. Bob smirked too. He said, "It's a republican; it'll take whatever you got!"
The old lady whose trail name is "Mother Goose". The woman had wrinkles on her face and two white braids. She looked to me like a matriarchal Indian chief.
I thought I was afraid of the dark. Guess not.

[Nov. 18: Here there was a long section I removed for now, because it makes me feel a little nauseous and uncertain. Maybe I will write a revised version sometime)

Yesterday's lava fields * Remembering the word kisufim
Wanting to bake vegan desserts because the black specs of earth looked like cookie crumbs
Thinking about food
Trying to BE HERE Being forced by today's brutal weather to BE HERE
Thinking about Bob's story of his daughter's elementary school pen pal in Ukraine, and later asking the leaves and the stems and the plants to try to pen pal the different parts of my body and attach me to them spiritually, so I would be part of Them
Walking with my hood over my head and I could only see a square meter in front of my each step
I liked that
Trying to remember who to send snail mail letters to;
Every night remembering more dear people to write to
מכל מאהבי השכלתי

October 17th:
Wow, almost a month on the trail! We're in the rain, but in our tents. I'm cooking Outdoor Herbivore's Chickpea Sesame Penne. We're camping somewhere in the Mazama area, a little south of the Crater Lake rim. Today was an eventful day. It started with Chuck and Andrea driving us out from Diamond Lake to the Crater Lake rim. We walked the remaining 3(ish) miles to the rim village, ate lunch, waited to hear that our packages were at the ranger station a few more miles south, walked the 3 miles down there, got our packages, sent most if their content back. We had so much food and only a few days left on the trail, so we didn't need all that extra food (=weight on our backs). Then hitch hiked down to where Annie Springs met the road, hiked 0.5 miles (uphill) ("we had to have an uphill right out of the freakin car?" [Bob]), then about 1.5 miles to reconnect to the PCT trail.
I love being in my tent and I love writing. It makes me feel connected and less alone.

October 18th:
Imma's birthday!
We have 3.5 days left to this adventure! On Thursday afternoon we should get to Fish Lake  It's 35 miles from here. Really not that far. Can't wait!

October 21st:
We ended up getting to Fish Lake a day early.
We're here today!
We're done!

"One of our problems is that very few of us have developed any distinctive personal life. Everything about us seems secondhand... In many cases we have to rely on secondhand information in order to function... But when it comes to questions of meaning, purpose, and death, secondhand information will not do. I cannot survive on a secondhand faith in a secondhand God. There has to be a personal word, a unique confrontation, if I am to come alive."
[From a book called Journey Into Christ. I read the quote in the book The Road Less Traveled.]

This last photo was taken from inside the bus down to Sacramento from Medford, Oregon.
The ride was very pleasant and scenic. I enjoyed it.

I don't remember if I wrote anywhere that the camera I got from B&H in NYC was a used Fuji XQ1. it's excellent, in my opinion. I'm really happy with it.