I arrived back at the Burney Falls Lodging to find Linda and Troubadour engaged in lively conversation. I had left them there about a half hour before when I drove a jeep full of PCT hikers out to Burney Falls.
Troubadour is from Simmozheim, a town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. His German name it Julian. He finished his undergraduate studies in engineering and decided to take a break to hike the PCT trail before going on pursue graduate studies in systems simulation. He felt that it would be a good idea to hike 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada to think about things and clear his head before focusing his mind on mathematical models and computer programming. He began his northward trek on April 27.
So far, Troubadour has had an exciting journey.
“All bad things that could happen, happen to me,” he said, ” because I am not risk-adverse.”
As an example, he told us how he had been swept off his feet and washed down-stream in Evolution Creek and how he had fallen over at Glenn Pass onto his back pack and couldn’t right himself.
“Fortunately,” he said, “While I am sometimes stupid, I am also lucky.”
At Evolution Creek, he had known he should have gone a short ways upstream where the water was less deep and swift to cross, but decided to brave the current anyway. A slippery rock caused him to lose his balance. As he slid down the stream, his sleeping pad protected him from being pounded on the rocks. He was able to flip over so his backpack remained dry and then he was able to get a foothold in the streambed and pull himself out.
At Glenn Pass he had to undo his pack to get free, but nothing was lost.
And so it goes… a cheerful young man on an adventure. Troubadour said that he didn’t like to rush his journey too much. Because of the fire detours and snow delays further south many of the hikers are trying to put in longer days to catch up with their schedule.
When I said, “It’s not the miles but the smiles,” he quipped back, “It’s not the gear, but the beer!” I hadn’t heard that one.
Troubadour is hoping to reach the Canadian border in September leaving time for a short visit to Vancouver. From Vancouver, he intends to fly back to Germany to begin school on October 15.
Before resuming his trek, he recommended a book he has been reading on the trail: The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. In this book Taleb describes how unexpected events have played a large role in history. He also suggested that I take a look at the work of Daniel Kahneman, an Israeli-American psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in 2000 for his work in behavioral economics.
Sometimes, even brief meetings with PCT hikers can be very intellectually stimulating.
Oh yes! Troubadour is also carrying a guitar with him. Hence the name “Troubadour.”