“It’s not the miles, it’s the smiles”

On our way to Burney Disposal, I saw a man with a backpack walking by the Blackberry Patch. I pulled over and rolled down my window.

“Wow, perfect timing,” the gentleman said as he loaded his pack into the Jeep.

His trail name is “Cracker.”

“My legal name is Thomas Graham,” he explained, “but I’ve been called ‘Cracker’ all my life. Graham Cracker.”

Cracker and Linda by the Jeep

Cracker and Linda by the Jeep

Cracker comes from Robbinsville, New Jersey. He is a thru-hiker who began his PCT trek north on April 8. He has a blog of his journey at https://cracker001.tumblr.com/

“Wow!” I said, “you’ve been going at a pretty easy pace.”

He told me that he tries to do 17 miles a day and he plans to get to the Canadian Border on October 1.

In 2010, Cracker hiked the 2011-mile long Appalachian Trail. In 2011, he hiked the 351-mile Long Trail from Massachusetts into Canada. In 2014, he hiked 210 miles on the John Muir Trail in Yosemite.

He has learned that you don’t have to rush it.

“It’s not about the miles, it’s about the smiles.”

It’s about the interesting people you meet along the way, on the trail and in the small towns. It’s about the trail angels and the trail magic.

He gave several examples of trail magic. One man along the way had set up a station to give hikers apples, bananas, and root beer floats! Another woman rented two campsites near North Kennedy Meadows to provide a stop for PCT Hikers. First day she provides a free meal. Second day, hikers have to provide their own food, but she’ll cook it.

Other people leave stashes of food or water by the trail,. Some leave interesting books.

“The trail provides.”

Hikers enter the Sierras near South Kennedy Meadows. Cracker left there on May 28. He said it was perfect timing.

I told him that it seems he has a lot of perfect timing. It’s like he’s living in harmony with the Way and the synchronicities are working with him. He agreed.

Cracker did have one unpleasant interlude on his journey. At the Warner Springs Resource Center he had to do some “bucket laundry.” They gave him the right amount of soap but he thought that it wasn’t enough so he added more.

Cracker has sensitive skin. The soap had OxyClean in it. Some of the chemicals from the soap got into his bloodstream and caused him to break out in a serious rash from his wrist to his elbow. He had to go to nearby Idlywild Medical Center to be treated with various medications. He took two days off the trail to recuperate.

We talked about various other hikers. Cracker had met Sweet Cheeks. He had also met the Brit Family Robinson. He told me about another hiker Mama Bear hiking the trail with her 9 year old son. I think that that is the youngest hiker doing the trail this year.

Well, the ride to the trailhead was completed. I took a picture of Cracker and Linda together by the Jeep on Cracker’s camera. We said our fond farewells.

It was a very pleasant meeting.







Filed under Burney, Pacific Crest Trail

2 responses to ““It’s not the miles, it’s the smiles”

  1. Oh wow, I love cracker’s outlook on things! What a chill and awesome guy! It’s so nice to hear about people like this admist all the trail-trashers you keep hearing about.


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