Why I’m Hiking 1,000 Miles of the Pacific Crest Trail
Very soon, I’ll stand at the start of a far-fetched dream. The plan is to walk the Pacific Crest Trail from the Oregon/California border up to Canada, 1,000 miles on dusty dirt dreamscape, day after day for two months. It’s formidable, and I should feel more scared but there’s this other part, too, where every step takes me closer to me.
I don’t mean that I’m hiking to find myself; no, because I already know her, this person I am.
And she deserves good things like long hikes and fresh air and star-shimmer nights. I just mean, in the mix of it all, life hands you heavy things and stressful times and people do, too, and so when you get a chance to run, you go.
So, yes, I have goals for this hike, like to cry lots and lots and lots. I want to take deeper breaths that fill up my whole lungs, and I’ll probably scream on some mountaintops, too. I want to be alone, really alone, so alone that my introvert soul is filled up, satisfied, finally full. I want to be awake in my body, feeling my muscles, my strength, my aching hunger, my exhaustion, my physical self. I want to rest when I’m tired, and sleep exhaustion-deep, and find home in the dirt. I want to feel sun on my skin, and that deep-down pride of hard work. I just want to feel and release all the emotions I can.
I hike for healing mentally, emotionally.
Healing, not because anything’s broken, that’s not what I mean. But because society asks a lot of us, and sometimes (recognizing this as a privilege) we get to say, no, not today. Today, I’m going hiking.
And, finally, I hike to open myself up to the future. I’m in transition, just graduated from university and now onto… not university. Four years ago, I left suburban Washington to try out a life in Oregon. Now I complete the loop, walking from Oregon back up to Washington. I love the symbolism of our movements. To walk back home.
At the end of the day, I hike for reasons I can’t articulate yet, for reasons that urged me months and months ago in a dark, dreary winter to apply for a permit. An act of self-preservation. Restoration. Ah, who knows. I hike so I can wax poetic on the internet. I start later this week. Follow along as I go!
You can find Heather on Instagram @shy.bi.gemini and posting regularly on The Trek.
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