Deciding to attempt a Thru Hike

Well hi there & thanks for hanging out! I am so happy to have been selected to be a PCT 2016 blogger and I cannot wait to get out onto the trail and get this adventure started! I want to share a story with you in the mean time, a little bit of how I got to this point in life, wanting to spend an entire summer walking over 2,660 miles:

I grew up outdoors, fishing in the stream behind my parent’s cabin with my brother and jumping off our then-unrailed deck into massive snow drifts, loving every single moment; The first vehicle I remembering operating on my own was a snowmobile and my brother was my best friend in the entire world. I remember my childhood as what I would, even today, define as perfect; I wouldn’t change any part of my upbringing because it’s a huge reason that I am the person I am today. I remember spending school breaks camping with my dad, brother, and my brother’s best friend and my favorite part was that they never treated me differently because I was a girl. I was still expected to help find wood for the fire, to help put up the tent and get sleeping arrangements made before sundown, and often times would try to sneak away from doing chores to do something mischievous with my brother and his friend. I learned to shoot a slew of different firearms on these trips and I learned how to gut a fish on several occasions (which still disgusts me to this day).

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Just a few snippets of what my summer 2014 looked like.

Then of course, you grow up. Things change. My parent’s split, my brother and I stopped spending as much time together, and my desire to spend time outside slowly faded. I no longer wanted to go on camping trips and I no longer found the same joy in just being outside that I used to.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2014 that I rediscovered that innate NEED to be outdoors again. One of my 2014 new year’s resolutions was to hike fourteen 14ers (mountains with elevations of at least 14,000 feet) within the summer of 2014. (I guess now is a good time to mention that I’m from Colorado where 14ers are about as common as local beer breweries.) Needless to say that when I told my friends about this goal, there was a lot of skepticism. After all, the friends I had at this point weren’t the same people I’d grown up with so they’d never known me as an outdoorsy type. But I was going to do it dammit!

DISCLAIMER: I didn’t end up getting all 14 summits done that year.

But I was okay with that, I got eleven 14ers summited, 9 of which were done solo and that was something I was so proud of. I’d finally found what I didn’t know I’d been missing all of those years: FRESH AIR. I’d unknowingly been longing to be free, to not have to worry about the time of the day, what errands needed to be run, or where I needed to be. I spent that summer driving to a trail-head on Friday night, car camping, and then waking up bright and early on Saturday mornings to head out to conquer another mountain. I could go the pace I wanted to go, I could stop and smell the flowers or I could push myself just one more step. That summer, I found myself again and I knew there was no turning back.

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Just a few snippets of what my summer 2014 looked like.

Come the end of the summer, though, work days got longer, weekends got shorter and I was finding less and less time to be able to continue this dream of mine, which is why I didn’t get all 14 summits. I knew though, I wasn’t done. One-night camping trips weren’t enough anymore nor was spending just one day hiking to the top of a mountain, regardless of the sense of accomplishment this brought. I wanted more but I didn’t know how to get it.

That’s when I learned of this crazy thing called thru-hiking: people taking half of a year (or so) and being completely free, spending 6 months time outside and away from the nauseating idea of society. I started looking into thru hiking and everything that was involved and within a matter of months knew I had to try it myself.

Here we are, 13 months later and I’m 3 weeks away from my first day on the Pacific Crest Trail. My gear has been purchased, my resupply stops roughly outlined, and my flight booked. This is going to be the greatest adventure of my life.

BRING IT ON!

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Comments 2

  • Zach : Mar 27th

    I’m stealing this 14 x 14 x 14 challenge (assuming I live to 3014…here’s to hoping!). When’s your embark date?

    Reply
    • Lydia Armstrong : Mar 27th

      I have faith that you can make it another 98 years and can accomplish the 14^3 feat! & April 19th is the first day of the rest of my life; 21 days until my flight date, 22 days until my start date. Woot woot!

      Reply

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