It begins with California
And so it began. It begins in the way that so many of my dreams and goals have begun before. It begins with California.
Visas, Covid and Costa Rica
It hasn’t been an easy journey to get here. If I’d thought getting the permit had been the main hurdle, I was wrong. I’d applied for a B2 visa in Aotearoa New Zealand back in November, believing I’d had enough time to organise this before my May 5th start date. Unfortunately 2 days before I’d been due to fly to Auckland for the visa appointment, I received an email cancelling the appointment. Due to the Covid outbreak in Auckland the embassy had closed. With no appointments available until July in NZ and nothing available in my home country of the UK until much later in the year, I had no idea how I’d be able to make my Pacific Crest Trail 2022 attempt happen.
When you want something badly enough though you find a way to make it happen, and when a fellow hiker on Instagram messaged me suggesting I go on the ESTA and leave the country after 90 days and attempt to renter a couple of weeks later, I realised that this was my opportunity. It’s not the straight forward journey I’d been hoping for, and catching Covid 10 days before I was due to fly out, has definitely made my journey even harder than I’d hoped it would be, but I’m here! I’m here in California with an onward flight for a mid trail vacation in Costa Rica! At the time of writing I’m here in Joshua Tree, California in the crazy desert heat acclimatising to the time zone, the heat, the realisation that I made it out here! That it’s going to happen; Very soon I’m going to start walking and live the life I’ve been craving.
I’ve looked in the mirror and questioned why a lot.
Of course I’ve questioned why I came up with this crazy idea, this belief that I, person with average fitness with no special super powers, has the ability to make it to Canada. But if I was strong enough to get this far, I can be strong enough to try my hardest to honour my dream.
California is a special place for me. It was here that I fell in love with the outdoors. I love the vast rock features and staggeringly huge mountains. The contrast of the beautiful redwood forests and the challenges of the dry desert with snakes and mountain lions and being a hot, sweaty mess. It was here, in California in 2010, I first stepped foot on and learnt about the trail. As part of an international trail building team, I worked on a section of the PCT near Tehachapi. I can’t wait to walk on that section, to remember the rare mountain lion I saw, to remember what I decided back then, that one day, when I was older; ‘perhaps in my 30s’ I would come back and become one of those people that I’d heard about: A thru hiker attempting to walk across the United States.
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