How Does a Journey of 2,650 Miles Begin?

Not with a single step, that’d be too easy.

For me, it started with a lot of complaining. I grew up being very familiar with walking. Being part of the youngest generation on a farm means a lot of chasing cows on foot while the adults are all in or on their fancy four-wheelers and side-by-sides. Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll be sure to tell you how much I absolutely LOATHE running… or walking for that matter, really.

So, why am I doing this then?

It’s pretty simple, really.

Look at this sweaty, balding idiot. Doesn’t he look happy? That’s all the reasoning I needed. How did he get there though? Well, I’ll save some of the fun origin-story tidbits for when I’m actually on the trail, but the condensed version is that I learned that hiking and backpacking are different from chasing cows.

Also, I just graduated college. When presented with the choice of starting to work for the rest of my life, or experiencing something that I may never be able to again, it wasn’t a tough decision.

How am I preparing?

To be blunt, I kind of suck at the whole preparation thing. To start, I missed the initial long-distance hiking permit application day for the PCT. Which means I’ll be waiting until January 10th to see whether or not I’ll even be getting a start day, much less a start day in my preferred time frame. I actually panicked for a solid three hours before I realized that there was a second permit release day.

Aside from that lingering sense of dread though, I’m mostly just getting my body ready. From what I’ve seen on other posts here and my experience with stuff like this in general, that’s really the best thing I can do. The saying: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” is my go-to quote for big things in life. Gear will break, injuries will happen (although minor, hopefully) and timelines will get tossed to the wind. It’s not exactly King Theoden’s speech in The Return of the King, but I think it makes a fitting backpacker equivalent.

Gear: The Natural Enemy of the Wallet

Almost as important as the where and the when is the what. When I initially tested my kit, my base-weight was about 20lbs. To me, that didn’t seem too bad. Imagine my surprise when I looked around to find people with base-weights at almost half that. Needless to say, I’ve been making a few swaps and dropping some luxury items to get to a bit more realistic weight. I plan on making a gear-list post once the dust settles a little more.

What can you expect from my posts?

If I’ve somehow grabbed your attention in the first chunk of my post, this for you.

I try to write how I speak. That’s to say, informally. If you’re thinking about thru-hiking, I encourage you to read what I post. I will make a concerted effort to not just write about the fun, flowery parts of my trip. Some things just suck. I know it. You know it. We might as well talk about it. Don’t be mistaken though, I embrace the suck. Me being miserable does NOT equal an inability to make it funny.

If you’re my family or my friend reading this, you’ve got to like my writing regardless so…. tough shit.

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Comments 8

  • Jim Henderson : Dec 28th

    I can’t wait to hear all the stories!!

  • jen l : Dec 29th

    Excited for you! Will stay tuned…

  • Chris : Dec 29th

    Best of luck getting that permit!

  • Laura Henderson : Dec 29th

    The Dude abides…I’ll be here every step of the way.

  • Lilly : Dec 29th

    Wow! Go you for all that Pookie 🙂

  • C.W.K. : Dec 29th

    At first, I thought, why there’s Tom Hanks, and he’s waving at me. But on closer inspection, I realized that it’s Jack, a young man who blogs with wit and a sense of humor. I only wish that I could accompany Jack on his walk through what’s left of the American wilderness, but an advanced age brings on a lower threshold for pain, especially in the legs, which Jack is going to put to full use, since he’s been walking on them for most of his life. Good luck, Jack. “Forth and fear no darkness.” King Theoden

  • G-Ma : Dec 29th

    Let there be no regrets about the path not taken. The cows and I will be waiting for you.

  • Nephi Polder : Dec 30th

    I was just camping at Crystal lake this morning, a couple miles from the trail (Little Jimmy trail camp). Look forward to another year or tales from the trail.


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