HOUSE – Season 1: Pilot
“Happiness is only real when shared” – Jon Krakauer
To my friends and family, my name is Matt, but when I’m hiking, I don the moniker “House.” Given to me because I had a pretty good hiker hobble and popped ibuprofen like Dr. House on the beginning days of the PCT. House is my alter ego and who I become when I step out on a trail. I no longer feel like that other guy. Every few years, I get itchy feet and I feel House starting to claw out of my skin. Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, except instead of being mysterious and evil, I turn into a smelly, carefree hiker.
Don’t get me wrong… in “real life” I am your average guy. I wait tables, share a small apartment in suburbia with my girlfriend and two cats, and enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Prior to completing the PCT in 2018, the longest hike I had ever done was walking home from the bar after a couple too many. After the end of a long-term relationship and a thousand google searches later, I had my “gear”, at least what a handful of affiliate link-ridden websites said I should have. With a grin, an optimistic heart, and no idea what lay ahead of me, I kissed my family goodbye and headed down (what I was pretty sure was) the right trail.
I made, and learned from, a lot of rookie mistakes. Pulled my IT band trying to keep up with the trail veterans. Learned to really, really pay attention to water sources. Understood the importance of using an ice axe while glissading after sliding down Mt. Whitney on my ass and nursing a broken tailbone for weeks. But somewhere along the way, between the spectacular views and the ibuprofen, the wonder and despair, the loneliness and the friends who will last a lifetime… I became House.
It’s been a couple of years now since my last adventure, but I feel him aching to get out again. An insatiable call from somewhere outside my body – back to the lifestyle, the freedom, the friends – it cannot be ignored. Like when a song gets stuck in your head, and you can’t get it out until you sing it.
When Jon Krakauer says, “Happiness is only real when shared”, I think he touches on an aspect of hiking that is often ignored. Thru-hiking is inherently selfish. We ditch our friends, our families, and our worldly obligations and go on an adventure that only we can do ourselves, for ourselves. I want to share with anyone that happens to read these blog posts the good and the bad. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it’s three-day-old wet feet and depression. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be fun, and if were only fun, it wouldn’t be easy. I will do my best to paint a realistic portrait of what trail life and my adventure is like. This blog is for the aspiring thru-hiker, the weekend warrior, the escapist, or just anyone that happens to be interested in my odyssey. Wherever you may fall on that spectrum, I hope that you enjoy what you find here on this blog. So here I am, making my happiness real by sharing it with you.
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