The first time I ever saw Scott Williamson I was so high I could not tie my shoes or stand up, but I knew that it was him, he was with Krudmeister and they were going for the speed record.
I was sitting on granite blinded by high sierra sun when a hiker named Gravitron catches up, he’s the boy with seizures and a medical marijuana license. “Do you smoke marijuana?” he asks me and Ivy League Dan. I didn’t really, maybe like three times total in my life, but I just want to be cool so I’m down. At 9,000 feet I take a gravity bong rip and immediately feel regret and guilt but then suddenly everything is HIL-AR-I-OUSSSSS, and blurry.
Ivy League Dan is flat on his face and we’re having a conversation that makes no sense because I can’t remember the last thing I said. Meanwhile Gravitron is hovering, pacing, worried, because when he asks me to tie my shoes I cannot bring my hands to my feet, and laugh maniacally about it. He says I might have overestimated my capacity to handle it.
I ZONE IN on two tall skinny figures floating through sierra light. THAT MUST BE THEM. When I see people perform at high levels of endurance, I suddenly feel very soft and gooey. But you know what I learned that day, these unicorns trip too! S.W. tripped and almost fell, then made a joke about it.
The next year I found his gear list in a Word document I found online by accident. I thought if I copied it I’d be just as fast. Turns out your gear has nothing to do with being fast. It might help your joints feel ok though.
I didn’t know about the PCT until I read a Backpacker article about him. In that article there is a picture of him hiking alone. Then I want to know what that feels like to hike alone for days into sunsets and mountain silhouettes with the quiet, no conflict.