A Letter to the PCT Class of 2020
By now, hopefully, you’ve survived the queue of 10,000+ hikers vying for a permit on the Pacific Crest Trail Association website. If you don’t have your date secured, I hope the odds are forever in your favor, because I really can’t wait to meet you. Now, I know I won’t cross paths with each of you. The trail is long, arduous, and life never stops. More hikers than I care to count will be before me and countless others will replace my footprints on this magical highway running the length of the United States. Trail families will form, and divorces are bound to happen. Still, I feel a connection to each of you. We are telling a collective story; a story that will stand the test of time and forever live as ours.
Our reasons for choosing such an adventure are numerous and varied. It is those stories I can’t wait to hear. For me, this journey began five years ago. I had moved to Seattle from Oklahoma City and fell in love with hiking. At the time, I knew nothing of long-distance trails, thru-hiking, or the amazing community built around these national treasures. I was perfectly content playing in the shadow of Mount Rainier and finding myself intentionally lost among the forests of the Olympic Peninsula. As I hiked more and more, a desire to do something bigger began to grow. A couple of books and movies later and the idea of the Pacific Crest Trail was born. Two years ago, I convinced a friend of mine to join me and we earnestly began planning, training, purchasing, and preparing ourselves for a disconnected life; a moment I can’t wait to cherish.
For many, your story will mirror mine, and for others, it will vary completely. Whatever your story, I can’t wait to hear it, but I have some wishes for us before the first hikers launch their journey next year. I hope we realize how special this moment is and how many people wish they could trade places with us. I hope we leave no trace and an environment fully protected and saved for future generations. I wish for a caring, kind, and supportive community built around reaching behind us and pulling someone forward. I wish for each of us to hike the hike of our dreams without concern. I hope the miles are kind and life with all its responsibilities can remain in a holding pattern. I hope for those who don’t reach their goal that a gentle spirit of self-reflection for an even a single day spent on this trail is a gift. I long for shoes that hold incredible tread, packs that feel light as feathers, and water crossings safely delivering us to the other side. Finally, I wish for a mild winter in the Sierra. I now live in Los Angeles and really don’t like the snow, which is why I live in a place with only one season.
With all this said, I can’t wait to meet you. My journey launches in the middle of March. If we cross paths, please say hello. I’ll be easy to find. Just look for the guy complaining during every ascent. Please ignore the expletives.
Be good to each other,
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