Thursday, August 30, 2007

magazine coincidences

I went to the DeKalb Public Library Wednesday night to read the Chicago Tribune and check out a few magazines. I grabbed the April 2007 issue of Backpacker magazine and found an article about Scott Williamson, a hiker who made notoriety as the first (and still only) person to yo-yo hike the Pacific Crest Trail. By yo-yo, I mean he walked the PCT from Mexico to Canada AND THEN back to Mexico in one season.

Sisu and rode the bus to Campo with him in 2004, and he even retrieved the copy of Bruce Chatwins The Songlines that I'd left on the bus. He had a Go-Lite Breeze pack, just like mine, but with far less gear than I carried in mine. We talked with him for about 30 seconds before he continued on his way, and we didn't see him again until late August at Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon. The weather was horrible. Driving rain. No visibility. Cold as hell. We stayed at the lodge. Williamson moved on. Southbound back to Mexico.

After he finished his yo-yo in 2004, Williamson made national news headlines and had a long feature written about him (in second person) in Backpacker magazine. We talked for a long time around the fire at the AZDPCTKOP in April 2005 about the dubious nature of notoriety. He is a very humble, sensible man, who just happens to live for hiking and has an insatiable will to push himself. He's one of the most "famous" thru-hikers ever, but it doesn't seem like it went to his head.

It was good to catch up on him at the library, especially after getting an e-mail from another hiker friend, German Tourist, who wrote a post from a public library near the Continental Divide Trail she is hiking this summer. She also says hello from Lint, another CDT thru-hiker, whom Esther and I met doing volunteer work for the Ice Age Trail. The long-distance hiker community is small enough that coincidences like that happen ALL THE TIME.

But then I picked up the latest (Sept. 2007) issue of Arizona Highways and saw a full page spread about a guy in Bisbee, Arizona, a local oddity in a town full of artistic type oddities, who walks around town with a parrot on his shoulder and a cat perched on a dog's back. I took a picture of this fellow when I was in that town in early January this year.

It's a small world, I guess. Two magazines. Two connections to people I've met.

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