In, Out, Shake down, do the Hokey Pokey and Trail Around

So, I was prepared for an emotional roller coaster when I got on trail. What I was not prepared for was the roller coaster comprised of five tracks and 20 trains all on crack cocaine of emotions that filled me in the months leading up to the trail.

I’m in!

Like an organized due diligent kid, I sat on the couch staring at the PCTA website 30 minutes prior to the portal opening. I had booked the night off work, had a cup of tea in hand and here I waited. 6:30pm hits and we’re ‘now in line’! Woohoo. I read a little more ‘your expected wait time is more than an hour’.

I wait, and I wait, and I….wait. Convinced that the little computerized walking figure on the loading bar has more chance of getting to Canada than me at this rate. Over an hour later, im in! Available dates read:

May 28th and May 29th

I refresh the page in hopes more dates will appear but instead the available permits for the 28th and 29th started dwindling, so I reluctantly select May 28th and click confirm in a panic.

Well heck. May 28th? My Scottish skin will burn to a crisp starting that late in the desert.

I’m out!

Despite knowing more permit dates would be released in January, I started to seriously doubt that I had any chance of obtaining one and subsequently started thinking I’d rather travel around Europe with my girlfriend. Oh and also, do I REALLY even want to hike to Canada?!

I’m in (again)!

The second release of permit dates allowed me to secure an earlier more preferable date. Well, now I don’t have a reason not to, so I’m half heartedly back in. But the question still lingers, do I REALLY want to do this?

Im out (I think?)!

After much consideration (you probably get the picture how much I suck at making decisions at this point) I came to the conclusion my existing backpack and sleeping bag were too heavy, so IF I go, it’s going to cost me more than planned to do a good shake down and get the right gear. Also, due to the initial lack of a suitable permit date and lack of commitment I had delayed buying any gear and now all of a sudden it’s 2 months out from my start date and still all I have are shoes and socks. It’s overwhelming to try and comprehend pulling a plan together this last minute. Inner chimp reminds me (again) how great traveling Europe with my girlfriend would be.

Aaand you get the picture, in, out, in, out

Its now mid March and I really couldn’t wrap my head around if my indecisiveness was a subconscious sign that I wasn’t ready to take on such a monumental feat or if, you know, it was the fact that hiking 2,653 miles is kind of crazy and it’s normal to have moments of fear and doubts.

Honestly, I never did commit until days before it was going to be too late for gear to arrive in time, and something just didn’t sit well with me if I didn’t give it a go. So one night I sit down and book a flight. I’m way too tight-arsed with my money to not catch a flight, so that was it! I was hiking the PCT!

I don’t recommend anyone use my strategy for deciding to hike the PCT, because it almost caused me (and probably my girlfriend) an aneurysm. However, do take comfort in knowing that just about every emotion is valid in those weeks running up to D-day, and whether you commit or choose to wait be proud of your decision because each one is hard in it’s own way. I’m a do it now kinda gal, and you don’t have to be 100% in, but you gotta feel rotten about not giving it a go or you may just not be ready.

So I’ve got my right foot in,

I’ve got my left foot in,

I’ve got my whole self in!

You shake it all down,

you do the Hokey Pokey and

you trail around!

That’s what it’s all about! …right??

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Comments 1

  • Dogwood : May 27th

    Hello folks! Sierra (yep, after the Sierra Nevadas) here, born and bred in Scotland but lucky owner of an American passport too. I’ve spent the last 5 years living and working in New Zealand, Australia, America and Scotland. My girlfriend (Ness) and I completed a road trip of a life time in our van last year seeing 50 of 51 national parks in mainland America. The next grand adventure is the PCT northbound starting April 12th.

    A little reminder: this wasn’t experienced because you suck at making decisions. 😀


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