Hiking With Jason

Detached From Reality

Day 89: Home sweet home

Day 89 – 7/19/16

I’m home in Phoenix now. I took a greyhound from Weed to Medford and then a flight to Portland in a tiny prop plane. Had about a 3 hour layover and then flew to Phoenix. I got to Phoenix at 5:30 and my mom picked me up at the airport. I decided to just stay at my parents house for the night. My cat is there and it was nice to see him.

My mom’s dog didn’t recognize me at all. I walked in and when she saw me she started barking and ran away. She wanted nothing to do with me. After a bit she would get close to sniff me but wasn’t sure about me and wouldn’t let me pet her. I gave her a few treats and she still was a little cold to me. Eventually she realized who I was and let me pet her.

As I was going to sleep one of my mom’s cat was on the bed, on the pillow, on my head, hitting the blind, and just being a total bugaboo.

The next morning my mom dropped me off at my house on her way to work. My dog was out back when I walked up to the front door. I set my stuff inside and opened the gate and he ran right past me to my mom. What the heck?! It’s been 3 months and he runs right past me! Right as he gets to my mom he realizes who I am and runs right back and starts jumping up to give me some kisses. I crouch down and pet him and he is so excited. I missed my buddy.

It was good to be home. My roommate and I went to breakfast and then to my favorite burger place for lunch. Later that night I went to a pizza place with my friend who I’ll hike with from Bend to the Washington border in a couple weeks. I came home a bit early but I learned my friend started brewing beer. I’m not a big beer drinker. I only like dark beers. Stouts are my favorite. My friend brewed an oatmeal stout and called it Wrong Tent Stout! He’s still working on the label. So cool! Can’t wait for a bottle with a label!

As much as it feels good to be home it also feels wrong. I don’t feel like I should be here. Sometimes while going up the stairs to my room or getting into my truck I realize that I’m home and not on the trail. It’s a weird feeling. I definitely plan on getting back on the trail. I have my flight booked for Portland for August 2nd and then a bus down to Bend. I’ll hike the 140 miles to the Bridge of the Gods on the Oregon/Washington border. I’m hoping that my feet and back will be fine so I can continue on to Canada.

I know a lot of you have been following my progress and rooting for me. I partly feel like I’ve let some of you down and it was a very difficult decision to get off trail but in the end I had to do what I felt was right. I’ve never held back on how difficult the trail is. Mentally and physically it is incredibly difficult. As the physical difficulty increases it just adds to the mental toughness. Having to hike alone and going all day without seeing anyone definitely added to the mental strain. In the end having to deal with foot pain and back pain keeping me up at night was too much. The physical and mental strain was too much and I felt a couple week break at home to rest and relax was what I needed.

Although I may be sitting around doing absolutely nothing but eating, sleeping, and Netflixing I will be back in a couple weeks and I’ll continue to make posts.



  1. Sorry you had to get off man. I was rooting for you but thought you might give up after 5 star gave up. I know it’s been close to ten years since I’ve seen you but I’m sure you’re still the big d you always were 🙂

  2. wanda stephens

    July 23, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Get well soon, will miss your posts

  3. Peter Spindler

    July 23, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Jason. Met you somewhere maybe around old station or a little bit before just near the beginning of your hike. Right on brother. You did good.

  4. You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. If anything it’s amazing that you came home and are heading right back in just a couple weeks. Awesome job Jason.

  5. You are the man!!

  6. true inspiration

  7. Hope you’re feeling better soon! What an inspiration you’ve been. The selfish me will miss your daily blog… But you’ve done the right thing to listen to your body. Can’t wait to hear you’re strong and heading back to the trail !

  8. You have to take care of yourself FIRST ! You made the right choice. You have the “sticktoittiveness”
    to see this journey to the end. Taking a much needed hiatus is not abandoning your dream. I will however miss your posts as I read them everyday at my break. I’ll be looking forward to be following you again in a few weeks. I’d like to meet you at the Bridge of the Gods, as I live close by.
    God bless you Jason.

  9. Jason,
    First, hope you are healing. Having gone through a similar experience as you have, only I left the trail at mile 500 (35 years ago), I wanted to pass along some experience that might help. While I don’t “regret” not finishing the trail, I do wonder what “if” I stayed with it. I read several PCT blogs and really appreciated yours. Please note that you were always in the front of the “pack” on the PCT. I bring this up to maybe make a suggestion (I hate suggesting anything to a Thru-hiker, but feel impressed this one time). Have you considered taking a few weeks off to heal and then starting back where you got off the trail? Even after 2-3 weeks, you would still be in the “middle” of the pack, with plenty of time to make it to Canada. Even though there aren’t really any PCT rules, the general consensus for defining a “thru-hiker” is that the PCT be hiked in one season. Many thru-hikers take a short leave, for family, weddings, injuries, etc. and then pick up where they left off. I would love to follow your blog all the way to Canada, starting back at Etna. You have come so far (snow and mosquitos and more) that come October, you would look back, like I did and ask “why didn’t I just finish the trail?”. It will take me 2 more years to finally get back and finish the PCT after I retire, but I will finally get to hike all the way this time. If possible, don’t wait 35+ years to go back, like I did. Good luck on whatever you decide.

    • Unfortunately I am on a sort of a time table of when to finish. I don’t think I would have enough time to go back to Etna. Also I’m meeting up with a friend on the third of august in Bend.

  10. Jason

    I was saddened to hear of your decision to leave the trail but as the saying goes you must “Hike your own Hike”. Your blog was of great interest and was one I looked forward to reading every day. Your brutal honesty about what it is like to hike long distances and the superb photography made it a joy to read. I haven’t found another blog this year that has captivated my attention like yours. Please rest up and reconsider your decision to leave the trail. But whatever you do thank you for the effort you put into your blog.



  11. Still in awe of what you and many others have accomplished. It’s not the miles…it’s the journey. Looking forward to your finish, no matter what that is for you…

  12. Hi Jason, hope you’re healing up! Thank you for your blog. I’ve learned a lot from your experiences and that’s been helpful input for my future hikes. You’ve really done an incredible job and I’ve always been amazed how you’ve been able to do the 20-30mi days. I met you on day one when I was just doing the first 20mi of the PCT with a large group and it’s just been crazy to track you after that as you made your way up California.

    You’ve really put a lot of thought and prep into your hike and I appreciate that. I remember just 5-10mi from the Campo start that I saw that someone had evacuated probably half their backpack on the side of the trail: everything from a bear can (like you need that in campo??) to a fire-extinguisher sized can of bear stray (or that).

    Hope you get back on the trail soon. Need to read more of your blog entries to remind me why I hate working in an office all day on conference calls!

  13. Hey brother. It’s Tyler all the way back from Jullian. We got a place together with Neema and Rusty. Anyways, I’m near Burney and you came to mind the other day and I decided to hop on the site to see how things were going. It’s been a while! Sorry to hear about your recent woes. I think it’s smart to take the time off. Hope to see you on the trail soon. Take care brother. PS going by T-Rex nowadays. Picked it up at mile 400. Ha!

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