PCT Is One More Step in a Hiketime Life

Hiya!  My name is Sara Dhooma and I will start my trek on the Pacific Crest Trail on March 29, 2018.

I don’t have a clue which gear I am taking, figured out logistics, or have a resupply strategy.  I’m glad to have my physical, mental, and financial preparations in good shape.

I’m currently in the middle of a one-year, unpaid leave of absence from my medical administration job.  I’ve spent the last six months trailing around the world in France, Spain, New Zealand, and Nepal.  My feet are conditioned­­ to hike 20-mile-plus days without pain.  I’ve built up muscle, and my core is strong enough to carry a heavy backpack.  My mental state is well-adjusted to being away from home and embracing trail life.  I’ve kept smiling through some miserable weather and cold conditions with inadequate gear.  A life-threatening event helped put my life into perspective, and prompted me to diligently save for the hike.

I’m a pulmonary embolism survivor.

Two years ago, I collapsed at a bus stop when a blood clot caused a massive pulmonary embolism. One in three people die instantly, due to the blockage of blood vessels in the lungs.  The reason why this happened to me is unknown, without any identifiable cause.  My life expectancy is decreased because the risk of reoccurrence is high.  If I am diagnosed with a blood clot in the future, I will need to be on strong blood-thinning medication for the rest of my life.  I would never be able to wilderness hike again due to complications of bleeding risk.  My leg with the clot also suffered damage, and I had difficulty walking properly for months.

Since my hospitalization two years ago, I have had three false alarms.  I get terrified because a swollen limb, or simple chest congestion could potentially be a fatal situation.  Tears of joy flow each time I receive the news that the imaging scans are clear, and I can continue hiking.

I am hiking because I want to live, not just be alive.

There is no better feeling than loading up a backpack and heading into the wilderness for a multi-night hiking trip.  I want to embrace the harmony, anguish, and wonder of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Pacific Crest Trail is not my “hike of a lifetime.”  The Pacific Crest Trail is part of my “hiketime life.”  My body did not give up at that bus stop.  It fought for me to survive, to climb more mountains, and to see more of the world.

Gotta get trail ready.

I returned home from walking the Via de la Plata Camino in Spain a couple days ago. I will be in the Caribbean next week for a short hiking trip.  My time is very limited to get everything in order for the PCT.  I’m feeling overwhelmed and freaking out a bit!  The first step is taking an inventory of all my hiking stuff, and going shopping to fill in the gaps.  My apartment is going to get very messy.

When my gear is finalized, I will create a PCT gear video for my YouTube channel.  I will also be video blogging daily on the trail with two- to four-minute videos.  Follow me at: www.youtube.com/saradhooma

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