After 5 months of living on the trail with my two mustangs, On September 10th, 2017 after riding 2,461 miles the ride came to an end. But I have come to understand that the journey has only begun…..
Along the way connections were made and friendships formed, lessons learned and taught. With no apologies, it was this daily reality that I lived in that kept me away from my computer and the blog. However, I will say this, I did have every intention to do some sort of blog updating while on the trail, and even tried sitting down a time or two to keep up with my writings for you to read. Now there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t write down my personal understanding of the world around me, in the private pages of my books so its all there and documented. But the time spent on my computer, away from connections and friendships that were being formed with every passing day, I couldn’t live with. The expression goes ‘hike your own hike, not someone else’s’. I could have spent my time hammering away on theses plastic keys about how the trail twisted and turned under the iron shoes of my mustangs, but why? The expression ‘Hike your own hike’ isn’t one just for the trail. It applies to our own lives, everyday. This ride wasn’t about the Pacific Crest Trail. This ride was to inspire people to ask plenty of themselves. If not for yourself, for at least the people that can’t. The Pacific Crest Trail to me… Was the catalyst that I was looking for to generate the conversation. Sure, it was an incredible journey, and won’t be the last. It wasn’t the miles or the mountains climbed that are the most rewarding. The reward is in every conversation, every connection made. To have the human experience.
There was one connection I made while on the trail that has had the largest impact on me. While out there I was able to form a partnership with Takeda Pharmaceuticals who is currently working on an Ataxia compound that we are all hoping will at least halt the progression of this disease. I don’t pretend to have the answers for how we can do that. But now that I have your attention I can share my story and the story of others. The story of how some people are living with Ataxia and how it has affected their lives. This video hit home for me and touched on some very emotionally charged memories of what it was like for myself, and my family while my dad was still alive. We didn’t ask for this, it wasn’t a lifestyle choice that caused it, but we learned to live with it. Just like the The Dilorios and Helms family are.
There have been many great partnerships formed and created to make this project a reality. Some big, some small, but equally just as important as the next. However, for personal reasons, the partnership formed with Takeda has justified the last two years of my life. all that I gave up so that I could play my part however big or small it might be, it’s nothing compared to what Ataxia has taken from the people that live with it in their lives.
And so, for now, I will leave you with what the trail has taught me. I have come to understand what 3mph means. In today’s world, we move at a break neck speed. We often are moving too fast to see, or are spending too much time looking down at our feet, and not observing. When we wander at 3mph we begin to see this world, we can listen to what it has to say. We can see how it fits together and where we fit within that system. The mustangs and I made our way north at 2.88mph, uphill or downhill. Didn’t matter. That was our natural speed, and the speed that allowed us to observe. Like I said before, the one thing that I hope this ride has done, at the very least, is to inspire as others have inspired me. Inspire people to ask plenty of themselves, and to slow down. We shouldn’t lose sight of the past or the future, but we should always live in the present.
Look back from time to time, retrace your steps. This way we can see where we are going.