At Least I Got the Sierras Done…
I’m 98 days into my SOBO thru-hike, and there are many things I’m proud of: I was able to walk continuously through Washington and Oregon. I’ve been able to enjoy various side-trails, waterfalls, and natural wonders not on the PCT itself. All in all, I’ve completed about 1200+ miles, including my most recent month, walking north through the Sierras.
My thru-hike has not been “normal.” Yet, it seems apropos. 2021 has not been a normal year. Wildfires. Detours. Smoke. Closures. Early season winter weather.
The planning, alone, has been difficult. It wasn’t early on, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. But, as I went against the grain and hiked north through the Sierras; as early-season winter weather rolled in; I had no choice but to adjust accordingly.
My hope was to be able to walk north, past Tahoe into NorCal, all the way back to Medford, OR (which was where I first flipped. That was my “hope,” anyway.
But, you don’t always get what you want, and I think the real beauty of a thru-hike is your ability to roll with the punches. That’s what I am trying to tell myself (and actually believe). I couldn’t control the wildfires/smoke before, and I can’t control the early-season winter weather. (On a side note: I am happy that the areas that so desperately needed the moisture are now the areas getting pummeled with rain and snow.)
Life finds a way if you ask me.
Yes, that means my NOBO intentions are now dead. It’s the END of my NOBO trek. Oh well. I will have to save the NorCal section for another year, hopefully next July, if I can make my economic and professional plans work.
It’s frustrating; not gonna lie. I have the time/space now for this hike, but due to these factors beyond my control, I have to think about a later date to “finish” the PCT. Ugh.
I tell myself: I cannot control Mother Nature. If I was slightly insane, I guess I could go out in the snow, but I’m not. I’m not a winter-weather mountaineer, plus I’m alone. I know my own boundaries. Safety first.
At least I got the Sierras done.
I got the big passes complete. I summited Mt Whitney. I got in some extra miles getting off/on the PCT. Winning!
As I write, I’m coming off a week off, staying in South Lake Tahoe (thanks to the generosity of an amazing trail angel). I’m rested, well-fed, warm, and dry. But, I miss the trail. I’m bored. I miss walking. I miss the adventure.
I’ve never felt more ready to resume my SOBO hike, so back south I go. I’m gonna ride out this most recent (record-setting) storm, and then finish off the SoCal sections (700+ miles) of my Pacific Crest Trail hike. I’ll do what I can do, and from the groups on social media, I may not be alone!
I still plan to end my trek by mid-December, and now that I’ve had to cut hundreds of miles, I’m no longer pressed for time!
Home, here I come!
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