96 Days | You Want Me to Finish the PCT in What?

A red flag appeared on my email box gently alerting me to a new message. I opened my inbox fully expecting a spam message or perhaps a new recipe to try. Instead of the usual suspects I instead discovered a message from the tall one—my delightful husband. The subject line slamming me to pause: 96 days.

I choked back a laugh. I reread it multiple times; 96 days. What does he mean by 96 days? I mean it is not what I think it is right. He can not possibly mean that. No way.

Except. It was exactly what my gut told me it would be.


I opened the email and began to read the contents. The tall one had full out mapped my PCT journey to take exactly 96 days to complete.

I sat stunned.

My electrical engineer husband is a very logical fellow to my nomadic distraction. Over the past couple of weeks he had thoughtfully, with time-consuming percussion, mapped out mile by mile of my journey route. I scrolled down the email, taking in each factual line he had typed.

Here is where I will camp each night.

Here is where he will hike out with the kids to meet me.

Here is where I will add some miles to go to town to see him.

Here is where I need snow gear.

Here is where I would finish.

Here are the longest stretches we will be apart.

But finish I must do in his “conservative” 96-day amount.

Because he wanted me to.

That night as I sat next to him on our sofa turned bed in our 18-foot short school bus home conversion, I looked at him baffled and unsure if this was a joke or a real hiking plan I must follow.

“Any zero days?” I inquired hesitantly.

Silence meet my gnawing anxiety.

A shrug cementing that the tall one was serious about the 96-day timeline.

Now this may be the point in the story where I huff and puff about unrealistic expectations. Or where I point out that I am going to hike my own hike and it is too much pressure. I know that you must be prepared for the unexpected and laugh as you let go more then cling on to expectations.

But you see, I am conflicted with this aggressively optimistic plan my husband has for me to follow. On one hand he has such confidence in my ability to complete this journey that I find myself wanting to bury my insecurities in his warm strength.

He believes I am capable.

He believes this is not unreasonable.

He sees me day in and day out in an intimate way only a partner can. If someone knows the truth behind the facade we present to the public it is your spouse. This man has seen me break down in tears on a trail. This man has carried me the last miles when my shin splints have wreaked havoc on my legs. In my very vulnerable weakness, the tall one has truly seen what I am comprised of and still he believes in me. I cannot deny that sort of courage he has placed on my shoulders is a reason I feel even capable of attempting to walk from Mexico to Canada.

When you have a support spirit so ready to magnify your shine, you can not help but sparkle.


I also know that the typical time length to finish the PCT is four to six months. I have researched the need for zero days. I watched weather derail days to a crawl. I also understand sometimes your body will just need a break and a day to recoup. I take his 96-day plan as a lofty skeleton goal that I will add various tendons and veins as needed to stand up with. I try to push down discouragement that I am not the hiking wilderness woman he believes I am as I tiptoe my fingers to walk from the 20 miles a day starting point to the 30 miles a day ending goal.

Ninety-six days. My tall one husband wants me to finish my PCT hike in 96 days.

Will that happen? Most likely not.

Can it happen? That would be a great story to the grandkids.

Am I going to try to make it happen? Why not?

When you have love on your side—you can move mountains.

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