Hiker Intro and the Pre-Trail Jitters

Who Am I? What’s my story?

Right about now, I should be introducing myself with a goofy trail name like Cheeseburger, Manzanita, or Bridge Troll. The problem with that is just that I don’t have a trail name, as this(PCT ’23) is officially my first thru hike attempt!  Though it’s not like I haven’t been out backpacking before -I’ve done some section hiking and in fact, have been trying to manifest a reason to do a long trail for over a decade now. My ‘real world’ name is Tom, and I’ll take a moment here to introduce myself.

Hello! I’m a 32 year old guy who grew up in the great state of New Jersey. Not a lot of people think of NJ as an outdoorsy destination, which is fair, but car camping as a kid with family left a lasting impression on me. It’s also where I  experienced my first overnight along the AT near Sunfish Pond in 2009. Honestly it was an incredible trip in which we spotted a bobcat, a white rabbit (probably a pet that got loose haha), a long-tailed weasel and an enormous black rat snake.

What Does Life Pre-Trail Feel Like?

Since then I’ve managed to squeeze in hiking, backpacking, snowboarding, and climbing trips all over the country which, as you could probably guess, changed the course of my life forever. Now I’m finding myself working in the beer industry, living in a converted van with an 8 month old kitten and a loving, supportive partner.
Life isn’t always simple or convenient, but I’m very happy with where I am today, the people I’ve met, and what this thru-hike has in store for me moving forward. Will the record high snow pack get the better of me? Will plantar fasciitis stop me in my tracks before completing the desert section? Will I even be enjoying myself at all? There’s really only one way to find out.
It’s become clear that the preparation stage of this adventure is plenty stressful so far, and continues to ramp up in intensity. It’s certainly a feeling I’ve had before when setting out on long hikes, but considering this is a 5 month endeavor that will leave me changed, the stakes feel high. Higher than ever. It’s like the first day of kindergarten, if every kid was capable of anticipating years of hard work ahead. Knowing I’ll be living outside for that long is, to say the least, anxiety inducing.

An Unpredictable PCT class of 2023

Hopefully as I move closer to the start date, things will fall into place and I’ll start to find a sense of clarity or focus. Hopefully most of us starting in a record snow year can come to terms with what that means and accept that a PCT thru hike is inherently unpredictable. I’d love to find ways to have type 1 fun in moments that would normally be type 2, but only time will tell who has the pleasure of finishing this year. Good luck everyone, and nice to meet you!

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 1

  • val vitols : Mar 27th

    Hi Tom, how about a pre hike interview on Hikers Dream show?


What Do You Think?