It’s All About Saying Yes

The Trail to the Trail

It all began with Instagram. I love looking at other people’s nature pictures. You might be surprised what adventures someone else’s picture can take you on. They can take you to a new blog or website or any number of interesting places. One day, I followed the picture trail to a book called Crazy Free: An Epic Spiritual Journey by Melissa Wyld. Since I am on my own spiritual journey, and I liked her cape, I read it. That was my introduction to the Pacific Crest Trail. Then another day, I somehow ended up on the same trail. Only this time it took me to different book called Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail by Carrot Quinn. After reading this book, it became impossible to get the PCT out of my head. I had to hike it.

But Before That

Just over five years ago, I signed up for an acting class. I was not aspiring to be an actor, I just thought it would be fun. I had no idea how it was going to change my life. First off, I found the dormant creative part of myself that absolutely does want to be an actor, and secondly, I discovered an amazing room where I could learn to be a truthful human being. Any personal bullshit or drama was not going to fly in this room, but it was a place where we could discover and overcome personal blocks. It’s a playground where I get to rediscover who I am. It was refreshing, and I was in love. I still take those acting classes, and even though I sometimes want to run away as fast as I can, I always find myself back in that room.

Fast forward to today. Once the PCT was stuck in my head, and I finally made the decision to do it, I started researching like a madwoman. I read books, blogs, planning websites, and gear reviews. I looked at pictures, tried gear, and started hiking with purpose. As I gathered information, I realized that hiking the trail was going to be a lot like being in my acting class. This is probably why thru-hiking the PCT attracts me.

Ways in Which Hiking the PCT is like Searching for the Truth of Myself

  • I have to say yes to the journey – this opens us up to possibility. It helps us believe that it’s possible to achieve big goals (we may not even know how big), it gives us the flexibility to respond to challenges, and it opens us up to change.
  • At first, the distance is unimaginable – it’s hard to imagine hiking 2660 miles, the same way it’s hard to imagine the person I could be.
  • The terrain is constantly changing – neither the trail nor the search for truth is a straight line or a constant elevation. Things change: the ground, our bodies, our confidence, our thoughts, and our consciousness. There will be highs and lows, mountains and valleys, just as there will be personal blocks and triumphs.
  • There is no way to know how it will go – basically, anything can happen, but staying open prepares us to take on whatever comes our way.
  • It is an incredible learning opportunity – the amount that can be learned from completing a thru-hike is equal to what I can learn from the exploration of my self.
  • The only way to finish is to keep going, no matter what – step-by-step is the only way to get to the end. If I give up, I keep myself from reaching my own greatness.
  • Gratitude, humility, confidence, and joy – just a few of the perks of a thru-hike and a journey into self.
  • There is no end – many people can attest to the fact that the end of the trail is not an end, but a beginning. There is always somewhere new to go when it comes to self-discovery.

My acting mentor likes to say, “Everything is everything”. Our blocks in acting are the same blocks in our life, and, I now realize, will be the same blocks on the trail. But I’ve taken the first step to succeeding, I’ve said, “Yes”.

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Comments 3

  • Rhys Hora : Nov 2nd

    Right on, that’s awesome!

  • Debra Colvin : Nov 19th

    Hi Annete.
    You don’t know me but learned of your PCT hike thru mutual friends. Like yourself, I also enjoy hiking along with running and cycling in our wonderful Vancouver backyard. This year I took on the biggest challenge of my life and cycled across Canada with 4 friends. It was definitely amazing and an incredible way to see our beautiful country. I’ve read the book and seen the movie ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed which I also found very inspiring. I wish you all the best as you venture on this journey, it will be life changing in a positive way!

    • Annette : Nov 21st

      Hi Debra,
      I can only imagine how amazing and life changing your trip across Canada must have been. Thank you for your message.


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