Pancake (Toshi 敏彦栗原)

Mile 2,591


(1) Where are you from?

I came from Japan. The starting point of PCT is from the Campo of the Mexican border. 

(2) What day did you start?

I am a section hiker. I walked in 2017 last year and 2018 this year. It is from May 5, 2017, and June 29 in 2018.

(3) What day did you finish?

The number of days I walked in 2017 is 83 days from May 6th to July 25th. The number of days I walked in 2018 is 99 days from June 29 to October 5. The total walked for 182 days. 

(4) Do you have a trail name?


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

It was in 2017. There was a pancake surprise in the morning where I stayed. I liked sweet food and ate deliciously. The hiker friend who was with me was looking at me like that. The next day I was walking the trail and resumed with that hiker friend who stayed together yesterday. It was a topic of trail name when we were talking together and taking a break. We do not have a trail name, so we named each other a trail name. She remembered yesterday that I ate a pancake. She gave me the trail name Pancake. Then I called for pancake.

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

I could not speak English well, but I was walking around the PCT. Still wanted to walk PCT. That was why it was serious. I can not say what I want to say in English. I can not tell you what I want to tell. It was very embarrassing and frustrating. That's why I always thought that I would like to learn English when I go back to Japan.

(7) Did you experience anything miraculous?

I was walking near Crater Lake. One car came when I arrived at the trailhead parking. I was called by the driver. He came here from Portland because he wants to see Crater Lake from now. How do you get to Crater Lake if you walk from here? He asked me. When I taught the way he told me that he came here watching THE WILD with excitement. I was also excited. I am also walking around the PCT for the same reason. So we talked about sparse PCT together. Both countries are from different countries and he is not a hiker. But it was a miracle for me to see the same dream and to talk with him at this time in this place. I came from Japan, I thought so.

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

I was walking in hot Southern California last year in 2017. I encountered a very small mouse baby at my feet. It seemed that I was born yet that my eyes were not open yet. In this California where the temperature is high, the mouse baby was living as hard as possible. I thought that I do not want other people to be trampled. I moved the mouse to the edge of the trail. Even after moving the rat, he moves forward while moving the body hard. I saw that in this environment and I got the courage from this mouse baby. I thought that I would go forward even in harsh environments like this mouse baby. 

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

It changed everyday thinking. People's daily life can do whatever they like at any time. People eat what they like when they want to eat, watch them when they want to watch TV, work because they want money. I thought that such daily life was boring. But on PCT it is difficult. After completing the PCT and returning to Japan, they can do it easily. So I am thankful for my everyday life I thought that it was boring everyday and I am living now.

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

I sometimes want to walk the PCT again if I am off the trail. On the trail there was something that was tiring and difficult, but somewhat I sometimes want to do PCT or a long trail similar to it.

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

I can not speak English well. I was afraid that lack of information and communication could not be done. 

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

The opportunity to communicate after returning home is to be reduced. I thought that I would like to engage more in English communication that was timid for that much. English was able to learn little by little on the trail. So it is a pity that I do not have the opportunity to speak English in Japan. And it is very disappointing that we can not meet the hiker friends who walked together.

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

The difference that is on the trail and off the trail is to make me think that the difference is alive. It seems that when walking out of the trail it is being walked on the rail being laid. For money, for living, it seems like a duty. But on the trail and the PCT walked with my own will. It is not an obligation. We are doing whatever we want. I came here to do my favorite long trail. That's why we can feel that we are alive. I think that it is the difference between being on the trail and off the trail.

(14) Would you like to add anything else?

I thought about walking the PCT because I saw THE WILD when I decided to do what I wanted to do. It was my little dream I was watching at a distance. My dream is to travel. That dream that I wanted to try someday can travel with PCT. And that was one of the things I wanted to do. I was led by THE WILD and I decided to go to America then. But I can not speak English. I have only the knowledge I learned in compulsory education at junior high school. Still I wanted to go to America. With my words to do what I wanted to do I decided to go there even then. I was pleased that my dream will come true as the preparation for America is progressing. The dream road that we dreamed will soon come. That was my first oversea, my first long trail. There was anxiety, but the feeling of wanting to walk PCT was greater. I began walking PCT from the Mexican border. But it was harder than I imagined walking the PCT. A good thing is one. On the other hand, 10 things happen. But one of the good things was the power to negate the 10 bad things. It is a vast feeling and a warm heart of people. So I was able to go ahead at the most even with serious things. Last year I had difficulty with Sierra due to a lot of remaining snow. And the same Japanese hiker friend died. I felt my danger and I returned home at once. And this year when I started walking again my grandmother died in Japan while I was walking around the PCT. Still I aimed for Manning Park of the goal. I thought that was for everyone. And I finished walking to Manning Park. Although there were various, I think that it was good that it came after all. And I regarded this trail as one life. I was impressed, sympathized, cried, and laughed. It seems as if I have seen one condensed life with fast forward in the last half year. So I thought it was another different life. I want to tell. Let 's do what I want to do. Even if it was a steep road. If you are getting lost now when you are trying to start something I want to push your back. If you really are going to do that, you will act and you will not regret it. You can quit it whenever it is different from your imagination.