Embracing the Dream
“The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive.” Bill Watterson
Under the category of careful what you wish for, I’m hiking the PCT this year. OK, I have a permit to hike the PCT this year. No one knows if they’re going to make it; especially in a year like this. It’s a bit much to think about the entirety of this trail. At 2650 miles, without the “bonus” miles, it’s pretty daunting. So, my plan is to get to the trailhead a day before my permit date, finalize my pack, sleep (hopefully) at the CLEEF camp, get up and go to the trailhead, take a picture, and start walking northish.
I’ve dreamt about this trail for a long time. I’m not sure when I first heard about it, but probably sometime in the 1970s. So, it’s been a while. Of course, Cheryl Strayed made it cool after writing Wild, Then Reese Witherspoon made it a thing by putting it on the big screen. Even though it’s become super popular, to me the trail is a romantic dream. The freedom of stopping everything else in your life, strapping what you need to survive on your back, and walking into the wilderness to discover… Discover something.
There are the obvious discoveries, like flora and fauna, the physical barriers and endurance, the ability to eat trail food ad nauseam, the people you will meet. Also obvious, but much less known than most of us think are the internal struggles, the mind games, the mental fortitude of such a long, long journey, the stories.
2650 miles divided by say an average of 18 miles per day equals 147.22 days. That’s 5 months assuming a few off days, not to mention those bonus miles to find resupplies. The way I think about it is that it’s the slowest way to journey through the most amazing beauty of the American West, yet with all of that beauty surrounding you, what is most precious to discover is yourself.
Anyway, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m lucky to be tagging along with an old friend who is much better equipped, at least younger and practiced, than I. Pretty much everything is new to me, including the thousands of dollars of equipment I’ve acquired to lighten the load. We depart March 19. We’ve got a rough plan for the first week or so. The plan is to adapt and overcome. You never know where a dream is going to take you. Here’s to embracing it!
Featured image by Janine.
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