Griz (Conor)

Mile 2,591


(1) Where are you from?

I am from Denver CO, Born and raised

(2) What day did you start?

I started May 16th

(3) What day did you finish?

I finished October 3rd

(4) Do you have a trail name?

Yes, my trail name was Griz

(5) If so, where did it come from?

I actually got it a couple years ago on the Colorado trail when I through hiked that. Me and a friend were chatting and passing around trail name ideas on the PCT and I told him my old name and he said it was perfect and that I should keep it, so I did!

(6) What did you dream of when things weren’t going well?

Well it depended on what type of "Not going well". When it was crazy hot, I dreamed of AC. When it was crazy cold, I dreamed of heat. So its kinda hard to answer as there were a lot of situations where things (such of hot and cold) were just taken to extremes. Generally speaking, I missed food from towns (always) the comfort of a home (although not as much as food) and also my friends and my family. I also missed relaxing and watching TV and there was less relaxing than I had thought there would be. I missed a lot of things, but I would give them up again in a second to hike.

(7) Did you experience anything miraculous?

Everyday was miraculous! Honestly one of the driving factors for me even going on the PCT was that I had given up on humanity, I just though people were terrible and the trail would be a good way to separate. However, won of the most wonderful lessons I learned on trail was the kindness of people, food, hitchhiking, helping out in anyway, it was incredible to witness and to. be a part of. So I guess my answer is humanity, human kindness is a miracle. 

(8) Any memorable encounters with the elements, or wildlife?

Ohhhhh yeah. I encountered a mountain lion and 3 bears. My friend say a osprey catch a fish and then an eagle fight the osprey and steal the fish mid air, and another friend of mine saw a coyote eating a dear. My mountain lion encounter was kinda hairy but the beers were very managable. As far as weather, well I mean people die every year from heat stroke in the desert. We finished in a 3 snowstorm in Washington and one person got hypothermia and a lady got frost bite (black fingers!). The rains in Washington were crazy too. We only had 5 days of good weather across the state. What was really bad is that it rained for a week before the snow came, so everything was soaked and then, cause of the cold, everything that was wet (which was everything) froze. I had to sit on my shoes like a bird in the mornings to warm them up to put my foot in and then fold my tent up like tinfoil. That was nuts. And then I hiked through the largest fire in California history. Many PCT hikers choose to skip hundreds of miles there, but my crew and I kept going. We made it, but that was gnarly. I saw a hiker break down in tears once because the smoke was so intense and she just couldn't get up this climb cause she couldn't breath. She turned around right then and there, that was hard to watch. So weather was crazy!

(9) Think back to your “pre-hike self.” Now think of yourself here at the end. Has anything changed? 

I mean yeah, everything changed! Its kinda hard to describe, but its not like a sudden instant or anything where things become different. It is kinda like hiking itself, you can't even imagine doing the whole thing from the beginning, its too intimidating, so you have to take it day by day. The change in yourself also happens day by day and its so gradual that you don't even notice until you are so far down the road. I think the biggest way I changed is in my understanding of both life and people and in my confidence in my own abilities. We had a saying in our crew "well you probably won't die," and that right there gives me a lot of confidence. 

(10) Now that you are off the trail, what do you miss most about it?

I miss the freedom. All I had to do is walk north as much as I could and that was it most of the days. Now, in the city there is so much going on and to keep track of.

(11) Before you started, what were you most afraid of?

I was afraid of the desert. Im a skier from Colorado, I don't do well in the heat!

(12) Now that you are finished, what are you most afraid of?

Not really afraid of anything....I guess losing everyone I care about but thats pretty extreme and incredibly unlikely

(13) What’s the difference between life on the trail and life off the trail?

There is no difference. Its all mental. Sure your day to day is dramatically different and your goals are different and your challenges are different and stuff but you as a person, are the same. The biggest difference is your reactions. I find a lot more positivity on the trail and I wish I saw that more in real life. I think people like to wallow in there own misery and make up excuses on why they are angry or miserable or depressed and its really just a state of mind that you can overcome. I'm sure people would disagree with me but yeah.

(14) Would you like to add anything else?

I would! So our crew was kinda nuts a bit, we called ourselves the smoke squad cause we didn't skip the smokey parts (which was rare) and we had 4 people, a Kenyan ultra runner named rad, myself, bird man (a recent college grad just like me) and same same. Same same made up these crazy "challenges" that he would do where he would walk like 100 miles across Washington (hard terrain) on just wine and cheese. We both did the siracha challenge where you carry a couple pounds of siracha and see who can drink it fastest. He did the carnivore challenge, surviving 100 miles on beef jerky and salami. Rad and same same also did the fresh fruit challenge where they went 70 miles on only fresh fruit (they carried a whole pineapple). Just crazy shit like that, so my perspective on the PCT is a little different cause my crew was EPIC!! Love those guys.