Chapter 0: Missouri to San Diego

So it begins.

After many trips to REI (thanks mom and dad) and meticulously making plans for resupplying that will most assuredly go out the window soon after starting, I am ready to start my PCT thru-hike… I think.


I’m sure I’m forgetting something important, but where’s the fun in being totally prepared. At the bare minimum I’ve got food, water and something to cover me up at night. The past couple of days have been spent wandering around San Diego and somehow spending even more money on gear and food. I swear I find something new to buy everytime I step into a store. But hey, who doesn’t like new stuff.


So, what’s the plan?

The closer I get to starting, the faster my brain switches between “I can’t wait to get on the trail” and “who the hell talked me into doing this”. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m having second thoughts about the trip, I’m just uncharacteristically nervous. I wasn’t even this nervous on the bus to basic training. The idea of walking from Mexico to Canada is just so outside of the realm of possibilities of things I imagined myself doing at twenty-five.

There’s two phrases I keep repeating to myself to keep the pre-trail scaries at bay:

Embrace the suck


It’s just walking.


I am not stupid (for the most part). I know that a 2,650 mile thru-hike is more than just walking. However, reducing a complex task to its most simple concept is a great way to get over how intimidating something like this can be.


Tomorrow I’ll stand at America’s southern border, point myself in a generally northward direction, and start walking. That’s it. That’s the plan. As long as I don’t die between there and my first resupply, I’m going to consider this whole thing a partial success.


Please note that while I am writing this at 9 PM the night before I start, while watching Talladega Nights, I could not possibly be more excited about this whole situation. I get to spend the next five(ish) months seeing some of the most amazing sights that the country has to offer, while also sharing my thoughts about it with you fun people.

Now, I’ve gotta watch Ricky Bobby win a race and maybe also sleep a bit too.

Shake and bake, baby.



Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 3

  • Derek D : Mar 31st

    Shake and Bake, Baby. We’re all rooting for you!

  • Katie Grubaugh : Apr 1st

    I’m rooting for you. I worked with your Dad at Cardinal and, having seen his tenacity at getting things done there, I look forward to seeing that same spirit shine through on your journey.

  • Laurie Hollenberg : Apr 1st

    We are excited for you, Jack! May God bless you and watch over your every step!


What Do You Think?