Goodbyes, Hellos, and the In-Between


The last two weeks have been filled with staggered goodbyes. It started with moving out of my apartment then saying goodbye to church community, work, family and close friends. I’m no stranger to goodbyes, they are a natural part of moving.

However, this move is a little different in that it is to a tent on the PCT. It will be hard to stay in touch because I’ll only turn my phone off airplane mode once or twice a week. Staying connected with friends and being present on the trail could be at odds, but that is where this blog comes in.

The In-Between

Every time I have moved there has been this in-between space. After I have said all my goodbyes and before I have said any of my hellos. In the past it has been marked with a unique flavor of anxiety. I have ended my previous season of life, but the new one hasn’t started yet. The transition creates a space of loss. Sadness from what is now past, anticipation of what is to come, tension in the fact the new hasn’t yet come to fill in the void left from the past.

This in-between, I was anticipating that void and tension to feel bigger than it normally does. I intentionally didn’t watch any movies or play any games on the flights; I wanted to process through these emotions rather than distract myself and let time bury them.

I expected the unknowns of what was to come to make the anxiety greater. How will my body take to trail life? All the what ifs of checked luggage, busses, resupplies, unfinished things back home. It was surprising when I felt more joy in what I was undertaking.

The in-between is this special coating that separates the two seasons of my life: the desk job, downtown living life I had before to the mountain wondering life of a thru hiker.


The hellos are wonderful and life giving. I haven’t really felt a great excitement until I was with other hikers saying hello and marvelling how we are all here. We have pushed away the norms of society that said focus on your career and play things safe. We are here and about to start a grand adventure!

Like the goodbyes, the hellos have been staggered in phases:

The First Hellos

After my flight, I started to make my way to Scout and Frodo’s to spend my first night in San Diego. I was so happy they decided to host for another year. The journey started with a bus to Old Town Station where I decided to explore and grab some lunch. It didn’t take long before I saw someone wearing a sun hoodie next to a large backpack with a closed cell foam pad on top. We thru hikers are easy to spot. I went over and made my first hello.

Meet Mary! the first PCT hiker I came across in San Diego

We grabbed lunch at a nearby restaurant, flagged down a third thru hiker to join us, and then went different ways. Mary was heading straight to the terminus to start hiking while I was still two days away from my start date.

Scout and Frodo’s

I spent my first night at Scout and Frodo’s, the trail angels of trail angels on the PCT. They have hosted thousands of hikers over the years. The hellos and hiker energy hit a high with meeting everyone getting ready to start the trail. A ton of excitement, bit of fear, lots of laughter. I am surprised to be in the minority being off US origin, but I love it. So many hellos.

Scout and Frodo’s

We had some words of advice from the volunteers, delicious meals, yoga sessions, and pack checks. I missed meeting Scout and Frodo’s as they were traveling, but I loved their generosity and the community they have built.


After a night at Scout and Frodo’s, it was time to make it to Campo and spend the night at CLEEF. I took the PCT shuttle to the terminus and met more hikers there. CLEEF was a blast! So much excitement for what we were starting. I kept thinking we are actually here! The PCT!

The night was marked with a visit to the terminus and wall, some last minute words of advice from the hosts, and cowboy camping. Regardless of your political views, I think being 30 feet from the wall fills everyone with the urge to stick your hand threw it. I don’t think I have met a single PCT hiker that hasn’t. Cowboy camping is sleeping under the stars with out a tent.

Also, shout out to some of the other The Trek bloggers who stayed at CLEEF with me: Sid and Autumn

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Comments 1

  • Hank : Apr 24th

    I’m sure you mean ‘trail angels’ not trail angles 🙂


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