Flip Flop— life and the trail

Hectic! Life has the uncanny ability to ruin my plans. It is the never ending cycle of creating my life plan then having it blow up in my face, planning again, plans change, new plan and on and on. I continue to crawl back thinking “this is the time I can control the chaos!!” only to be shocked for the n’th time of life’s unpredictability.

Plans Need a Cathole

The Pacific Crest Trail has been no different. When I decided to hike the PCT back in 2020 I planned for a NOBO thru-hike starting in April. Then I switched it to May, actually switch it to a SOBO thru-hike. Oh wait! I am a month from starting in 2022 and there is still 5’ of snow where I am supposed to start in Washington. We will wait out the snow?Actually let’s flip-flop from Northern California. I think this will be the final “p-l-a-n”. Considering I start today I would probably lose my mind if life decided to change this tentative plan in the coming hours.

This chaos and unpredictability is exhausting, yet addicting. It makes me even more excited to live up to the definition of adventure. I believe a true adventure includes uncertainty and fear. Fear of the unknown. As much as I wish things would go as planned I am happy life continues to show me that plans are indeed shit and in need of a 6″ hole.

Flip When Life Flops

A flip-flop fits the theme of my life so well, though. I had made drastic changes to my college degree in the years one was supposed to solidify their choice. I recently switched careers only to immediately move on to hiking this trail and live a thru-hiker’s life. I was emotionally prepared for this and I suddenly had a friend pass away. My partner even came down with a (treatable) infection days before the trip! Life — this trail — is not meant to be controlled, only maintained. It is meant to be taken on head first with one foot in front of the other. The more we try to plan the more we will be humbled and reminded that life provides us with what we need and not necessarily what we want.

In giving us what we need life provides. The old thru-hike mantra of “the trail provides” is already holding truth— even before my first steps on the trail. I am trusting that by the time I reach the end destination (wherever that may be) I will have have learned more about myself and this beautiful, uncertain life. This was never about simply walking from Mexico to Canada or vice-versa. This was about jumping head first into nature and rolling with whatever came my way.

A hectic life and a hectic thru-hike. Terrifying at first, but the majority of that fear, I have came to find, is a farce. Made up because we (humans) do not like the unknown, yet we venture off into the woods with full packs ready to pioneer thru-life.

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