How I Stumbled Upon the PCT

2017- The Beginning

I was a full-time student-athlete that hated where I was and who I was. One night in my dorm room I stumbled across the film The Way, and immediately started researching thru-hiking. I loved hiking and being outdoors so I wondered why I had never heard of something like this before. Being a full-time student-athlete and feeling like I wouldn’t be able to do it anytime soon, I promised myself that I would attempt a thru-hike once I graduated college.

2018-2020 – The Middle

I moved back home and decided to complete my degree at a nearby university. It would be better for my mental health and allow me to hike and travel whenever I pleased. Everything was aligning for me and I finally felt happy. Then everything changed because of COVID-19. With all the free time of being locked indoors, it only made me want to take longer walks and hike more trails in my area. Being outdoors sparked a fire in me that I did not want to burn out. I remembered the promise I had made myself and began researching thru-hikes again. I found Elena Osborne on YouTube, who documented her PCT journey in 2019. I had no idea what the PCT was, at the time, but it was calling my name.

2021- The Moment

I graduated and got my Bachelors’s Degree in August of 2021. On November 9th, 2021, I logged onto the PCTA website and applied for my long-distance permit. I was so nervous about not being approved but I left it up to fate. Then on November 23rd, I got that sweet email saying that I was approved to hike the PCT!

2022- The Now

Now, here I am. As each day passes I sit at work researching the best gear, the best tips, memorizing Leave No Trace, training, and mentally preparing. Every day I think about how five years ago I made a promise to myself, and in a week I get to fulfill it.


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Comments 2

  • MojoRisen : Feb 20th

    As I have been watching the great escape, last 2 years, I am encouraged at the collage age individuals stepping back and reevaluating the whole. It has been with satisfaction that as more individuals work toward their degrees, that they are also taking the time to grow through hiking and seeking the true meaning of what society has dictated for centuries. I have told my daughter who is coming up in a year for going to college to pursue her career but don’t rush into the trap of working first. Go see, explore, travel to distant destinations and make new friends that will last a life time! There will always be a place to crash at home if need be. Work is secondary to the being true to yourself and establishing a soul. And yes I did it wrong and being on the achy side of hiking and having time to see it all have passed me by, boomer, but it does not stop me either. Great article for some on the fence!

    • Jackie Bocanegra : Feb 24th

      I think it is wonderful you are trying to encourage your daughter to get out and see the world! Feeling like society wants you to go to college and get your career straight after you get your degree is hard to process. I hope she takes a gap year before or after college or at least spend the summer out in nature doing something that feels good instead of work! Thank you for the compliment, I hope you and your family keep adventuring!


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