Date With a Driveway

Yes, you read the title right — I do have a date with a driveway.

After being sick for so long, and then my road trip, I am in no shape to do any sort of long distance trekking, so I need to get back into backpacking practice. And what is the best backpacking practice? Backpacking!

Although I went out hiking this morning in the nearby desert, I probably shouldn’t have. It is already too hot. So I decided to go up in the mountains next weekend and see what happens.

One of the biggest problems I have with hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in bits and pieces is the parking situation. Most trail heads around here are off major roadways, and there is no way I will ever be comfortable leaving my car by the side of the road for even a couple of hours, let alone a couple of days!

Luckily, a trail angel who lives near the Pacific Crest Trail is letting me park in his driveway. It will be a long, hot, very steep climb up the connecting trail from his house to the PCT, but what the heck. If it takes me all day to hike those three miles, well, it takes me all day.

It’s good to have the date with the driveway because otherwise I would keep putting off that first backpacking trip, looking for the perfect time to get my feet wet. I’m using the “feet wet” idiom facetiously because there is not a single water source on the trail where I am planning on hiking, and zero chance of any precipitation. I’ll have to haul all my own water, and because I don’t know for sure how much I will need for those days (and because there are limits to how much I can carry), I will do what I’ve always done — when I’ve used half of what I brought, I’ll head back.

Oddly, I’m neither excited nor worried. It just seems like a natural extension of what I’ve been doing all along. I am taking precautions, though. I printed out topographical maps of those miles with trail notes of where things are, and I’ll download a PCT hiking app that will tell me where I am and where I am going, an app that supposedly works in airplane mode.

So, maps, emergency supplies, water, food, shelter.

What else do I need? Oh, yes — strength and endurance. Let’s hope I remember to pack those two items!


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

12 Responses to “Date With a Driveway”

  1. mickeyhoffman Says:

    Wow. I wish you good fortune. Just don’t try to do too much at once. Then if you do more, you’ll feel extra good.

  2. Terry Jean Allard Says:

    Absolutely no judgement in this question…..Why do you want to do this?

  3. Terry Jean Allard Says:

    Hi Pat…me again. I just read your June 24,2013 blog and maybe you already answered my question. You wrote:

    “….. the future, whatever feelings the movies instill in me when I watch them won’t be so achingly raw. Time, life, and new experiences will pad the movies, and separate me from him just a bit more. Once that thought of increased separation would have brought me pain, but now I know it’s necessary if I ever hope to live a full life.. “

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yes, that’s still part of it. I do know one thing — if Jeff were still alive, I’d never even consider doing anything like this. I wouldn’t need to.

  4. Karen Says:

    Sounds like a solid plan. Even if you go one mile you’re making progress on something you really want to achieve.
    I’d recommend downloading two PCT apps. Halfmile’s PCT app and Guthook’s. Guthook costs a few $$ but has updated notes from hikers on things like campsites and water sources. I like Halfmile for navigation. Both work in airplane mode once you’ve downloaded them.
    Have fun out there!

    • Judy Galyon Says:

      Good luck with your journey!!! When do you plan to do this? I know you will leave your itinerary with someone! Hope you enjoy yourself!!

  5. Kathy Says:


  6. Constance Says:

    If I had your VW, I would not want to leave it anywhere overnight. Lucky to find someone to let you park in their driveway.
    It is a good idea to go only halfway if you are even just walking. It always seems longer going back. And, sometimes tiring.
    Hope you have a good trip.

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