You are about to begin your quest for your third crown. All day, I have been thinking about what I want to say in this send off letter to you. I could go many ways with it, but I decided to let my heart do the talking (like that is a big shocker) because that is the language you understand. And that is why I am your biggest fan. You hear the hearts of others and you listen to your own. You are a dreamer and an explorer with a touch of nomadic fire that has not been extinguished by naysayers or perceived societal expectations.
But, before I dive in, let it be known:
I don't speak in hashtags. Any time and effort muddling through all the utter bullshit behind the pound sign is "wasting my life." Not even going to pay attention to them.
I will never look at your Instagram, your Flickr, your [insert whatever thing is now cool to use here].
I am going to block you on Facebook so I don't see the posts from this hike. (I will soon FINALLY conquer my on and off again usage by reclaiming my old brain, axing the addiction to "sharing" life and walk away from THAT waste of time once and for all.) But until then....sigh.
I fully recognize that you are a master of clever, daily social media usage and it has brought many sponsorships, connections, opened many doors and has landed you some really cool gear AND bikes, but I honestly do not really care.
Uh, what a bitch. Who would say that?
I say it because I care more about this journey you are about to undertake and learning how it will change you, inspire you and make you the man you want to become. I WANT to wonder what you are experiencing and I WANT to hear it on the phone in your funny Boston accent when you get service along the way. I want to hear the elation, the exhaustion, the confidence, the uncertainty, the highs and the lows in the tone of your human voice. I want to see the expressions on your face when I join you for parts of Colorado, Montana and Canada and hear the words that come to your lips when you become one of the few human beings who have completed the AT, the PCT and the CDT on foot. To pollute something of that magnitude by an inundation of postings, arm's length selfies, clever captions and pictures is a shame.
Scatman, you are one of the most true, loyal and courageous people I have ever met. You are also extremely logical, smart and organized. Follow your wanderlust, bask in the bliss of this adventure, take some chances out there, listen to the stories the cashiers and waitresses will tell you about their hikes, skinny dip in the coldest river in Montana, make snow angels in the San Juans and embrace the pain you will feel at some point everyday.
Then tell me about it in words. Not posts. I see those every day to the point they mean next to nothing anymore....
I want to see your eyes sparkle. I want to hear of your awakenings, your growth, your struggles, your boredom, your triumphs, your pain, and mostly what your heart has to say about it all.
Go get this, Craig. I want to see that third crown sitting on your mess of grey hair at Waterton.
I want you to do on your feet what I did not do on my bike last year. I do not want your heart to have to experience that ache. So, on the days that you are tired and hungry and it rained all night and it just straight fucking blows out there, think about all the stories I want to hear when you finish....and get your skinny butt moving north!
Be safe, strong and slightly crazy on your journey from Crazy Cook to Waterton. This is yours.
-Your biggest fan