Less Than 100 Days to Go

Unlock my phone, open the tools folder, and click the countdown app again. We launch our Pacific Crest Trail journey on March 13. As the countdown refreshes, I am officially less than 100 days away from the dream of a lifetime.

In an instant, a wave of emotions and thoughts wash over me. Before I know it, I am standing in a flooded pool of my own making. Everywhere I look, I see questions, doubts, joy, nerves, anxiety, fear, and excitement. Perhaps you can relate to some of the items below.

Did I buy the right gear? I read all the blogs, talked to the men and women at REI for hours, trail-tested everything, watched countless YouTube videos, and practiced carrying food and water in Yosemite, but what if I am missing something or bought the wrong thing?

Do I have enough money for this thing? I have been saving for months, paying off credit cards, plotting a financial plan for those debts that won’t go away, made a budget, and planned for five months without a job, but what happens if I run out of money?

What if my body fails me? I’ve purchased great shoes, practiced carrying a heavy pack, tried to center my thoughts on the realization that my body will hurt in places I can’t imagine, purchased the first aid kit, and learned a few things about wilderness survival, but what happens if my body fails me?

What if the Sierra are packed with snow again this year? I bought the ice ax, watched some videos, purchased some Microspikes, splurged on a really warm sleeping bag and a great down jacket, and told myself over and over that these miles are the miles everyone talks about, but what is my plan if they are too dangerous for me?

Questions begin to overwhelm, and then I pause. Too much analysis can be a bad thing. Without a doubt, I want to be prepared. I want my reactions to be measured and thoughtful, but I also want something more. Part of my reason for undertaking such an arduous journey is the expected. I am expected to work. I am expected to marry. I am expected to buy a house, have kids, and die not fulfilling all my desires. I am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to push back on the expected and do something out of the ordinary. I am seeking a little bit of freedom.

When I step on the trail on March 13, I will be forced to trust my instincts for the first time in a long time. The gear I am carrying is the gear I have. Did I get it all right? Absolutely not, but I trust the decisions I have made and will adapt when needed. Will budgeting for trail life and real-life be easy? No, but neither was learning the ropes of adult expenses. Will my body hurt? For sure, but not half as bad as knowing I attempted nothing because it was safe. Will the Sierra be a game-time decision? Absolutely, and there is no shame in choosing safety over pride and heading for safer crossings. The JMT isn’t going anywhere and I am not planning on ending my hiking career in Manning Park

So, yes! I am nervous and I bet you are too, but I would be worried if we weren’t. We are going to do our best. We are going to reach for this dream with the best of our abilities, resources, and God-given talent. After that, it is sheer luck and a bit of magic. For the Class of 2020, I am banking on an abundance of both.

Be good to each other,


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