"We met Chute at the KOA in Mount Shasta. We leap frogged with him for quite some time. Last we saw Chute was briefly after Bend. He sort of just does his own thing and hikes by himself most of the time, but when you stop at a mutual water source or campsite he is a great conversationalist. We've covered many topics together even with somewhat brief conversations. He has a great perspective on life and it always put a smile on my face when I got to see and talk to him." - Journey Man
What's your name / trail name or both?
Josh aka "Chute"
Where are you from?
I currently reside in Kalamazoo, MI but I will always be from Wisconsin
Why did you decide to do the PCT?
I've been wanting to hike the PCT for over a decade, mostly for the scenery, the solitude and to immerse myself into nature more. I also love adventure, being outdoors and a good physical challenge. The pct hits all of the marks. In terms of the timing, I'm now at an age where if I don't do something, chances are very slim that I'll be able to in the future. And the timing just worked out for my family.
What has been the most challenging thing you've encountered on trail so far?
From a physical standpoint, it would have to be the 11 days that I was in the Sierra. It was full gas mentally and physically for 12 hours every day. A close second would be the mosquitoes in central Oregon. They are relentless and don't let you rest. From a mental perspective, I would say the fact that you are doing something physically difficult day after day after day. It really begins to wear on you and you have to keep pushing yourself. Also, missing home sometimes makes it difficult to find that motivation. The second half of the trail is definitely more mental than physical.
What is something you've learned so far on your hike?
I've learned so much on this journey...! I've learned that when the going gets tough, I'm able to really focus and do what needs to be done. I've also learned that my tolerance for tough going is limited and that I need to step away from it periodically. I've learned that it's ok to ask for help and to accept it when it's offered. I've learned to accept people for who they are and to look past some of the biases that I have. I've learned that most people are generally very kind, you just need to talk with them. I've learned to talk with people who are "strangers" rather than always keep to myself. I've learned to appreciate everything that I have at home, particularly my loved ones and the people around me. I've learned to let go of control and to trust that things will work out, sometimes way better than you planned. I've learned that the country is a very big place, and yet with patience and perseverance that it's possible to walk across it. I've learned that none of us is in this alone and sometimes it's better to lean on each other for support. I've learned that I actually miss being home (this one surprised me!) I've learned to appreciate small things, like the comfort of a sleeping bag. Or a pillow. I've also learned to appreciate the small things in nature, like the sunlight shining through hanging moss or watching a small fish in a pond. I've learned how truly little I need to be truly happy. I've learned to be grateful for this opportunity and to cherish each moment that I'm out here.
I met Quaking Leaf in passing in Kennedy Meadows South. He was such a ball of joy whenever another hiker came walking up to the General Store. He was usually the first at attention, clapping and cheering for everyone. If he recognized the hiker, he cheered even louder, gave them hugs, and greeted them with a cold beer.
We met Josh outside Julian at the same watering hole as David (Roo). Both Aussies were usually together, so we saw him as well in Julian, Idyllwild, briefly in Wrightwood, Kennedy Meadows South, Kearsarge Pass and Hostel California in Bishop. He is a very kind soul with a great sense of humor.
We met Frankie near Apache Peak on San Jacinto. He was wearing his large straw hat and getting ready to go over San Jacinto with Georgia just because she told him, "C'mon Frankie." This dude is a chill, real one. He's always ready to send it and send it with a smile.