For the last 3 weeks I’ve been hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail through southern California from the border town of Campo to my current layover town, Big Bear Lake. I’ve hiked through several different desert habitats (Colorado, upper and lower Sonoran), over a few mountain ranges (Laguna, San Jacinto), and passed though two biomes (arid desert, Mediterranean). The scenery has been dramatic, to say the least (for example – losing 8,000 feet of elevation over 15 miles coming down off San Jacinto Peak into the San Gorgonio river plain, while passing through at least 4 discernible forest types) . I’ve met and befriended an amazing number of fellow travelers – Avocado, Glide, Gizmo, Bluesman, the Saint, Monique, Tidy Sarah, Slo-Mo, Dirt Nap, Dune…only to name the very few I can recall now as I sit in the Big Bear library writing this. The most amazing aspect of the trail so far has to be the Trail Angels, though. These are people who live near the trail who donate rides to and from trail-heads, offer up their kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, backyards, wifi, water, soda, and sometimes even beer to us weary, obscenely smelly hikers. Their generosity is truly inspiring and continues to expand my view of humaneness and community. A special shout out is most definitely due to Glide On, Ziggy and The Bear, Papa Smurf and Mt.Mama. Thanks A MILLION y’all. So far I’ve managed only to write a dozen bars of music for Friction Quartet, but I have been brain-storming their piece for many hours, and I can feel the the spirit and scope of the piece every time I imagine it. I’m still hoping to find my composing groove though. I initially thought I could compose on my rest days in town, but those have mostly turned into much appreciated social events with fellow hikers, gear repair sessions, frenzied food shopping, and sheer face-stuffing contests at whatever wonderful dinner table we find ourselves at (which reminds me of my least proud moment on the trail so far – eating 4 double cheeseburgers from Burger King, which to be fair was the only game in town at a certain point). I think I’m going to start composing in my tent at camp. That seems the best bet for wood-shedding. In any case, I’m SO DANG excited about this piece for Friction Quartet. It’s going to be a blast when I really start putting notes down. Thanks for reading y’all, and all the best to you and yours!
Max (aka Medicine Man)