My tinder profile reads: Feminist; parent to a neurotic poodle; weirdly attracted to Jed Bartlett - isn't everyone? I've been living in Brisbane, Australia for the last five years, but I'm from Melbourne. Which is very important to people from Melbourne. Before I quit my job to hike the PCT I was working as an ER nurse, sewing my own clothes and consuming books like they're peanut butter m&m's at the end of a 25 mile day. I read Wild when I was 25 and I've wanted to hike the PCT ever since. I started doing that on April 5th 2022.
I put on my prom dress and drink my can of sparkling wine at dusk. I try to say goodbye to the PCT but I feel numb. I have no identifiable emotions.
This thing is wailing and hooting as sorrowfully as a 90s Disney Princess who's been locked in a tower in a morally bankrupt tale about filial obedience and being rescued by a dude who thinks being locked in a tower means she's not like other girls. It's quite beautiful.
A mosquito lands on my eyelid and I smear blood in my eye as I wipe it away. Two mosquitoes meet their death IN my ear canal. I hear the second one pop when I murder it with a bloody fingertip.
7. Intend to wash your down jacket and quilt maybe a few times during the trail. Do it once when you're stuck off trail with injuries and then abandon all hygiene forever.
And oh, the pack rash. My whole back itches with the hairy breath of a dragon. A dragon with a yeast infection. I have three patches of permanently reddened, roughened skin on my butt and lower back where my pack sits.
I read Wild when I was 25, and I've wanted to hike the PCT ever since. This is not usually what I say when people ask me why I decided to do this. Most hikers, especially men, love to shit on Wild and Cheryl Strayed. 'She didn't even hike the whole PCT.'
The shore is covered in clear, crystaline jellyfish and the bleached exoskeletons of crabs and shellfish. As we walk shells crunch and seaweed bubbles pop satisfyingly under our feet.
For two weeks, every woman I met on the trail was on edge. Some were so scared that they skipped ahead. I resented this additional stress, this special danger reserved just for us. I hated talking about, hated that we had to talk about it. People talk about thru-hikes like they're a perfect world, a respite from the pressures of everyday life. But this part was exactly the same.
I drank seven liters of water that day and still only peed once. I've been having trouble eating, and I try to force some food down without much success. When I finally lie down to sleep, my feet are burning and itching. I think it's just because my shoes are worn out, but when I eventually look at them, they are spongey and full of holes.
When I was growing up on our farm, every summer was tense. Fire was a real and present danger every minute of every day. The radio is always on. The car stays packed for evacuation. The photo albums are buried deep in the back yard. Intricate systems of 40 gallon drums of water and hoses snake across our property and everybody always knows exactly where the boltcutters are. If a fire is too close to evacuate livestock, your best bet is to cut the fences and let them run.