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,

Nathan

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Comments 8

  • Avatar
    Shannon Quadres : Nov 5th

    Great words! See you on trail! Late March date here 🙂

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Adam : Nov 5th

      Great words Nathan. I logged on, waiting for the permit process to open, at 10. When it opened at

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Nathan Box : Nov 6th

      Shannon! See you out there.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Adam : Nov 5th

    Ugggg… accidentally hit “comment “
    Anyways to continue….
    when it opened I was in the 8k’s in line;( I did however get a May 25 tentative start date. Just throwing it out there, but if anyone knows someone that has an earlier start date and is going to cancel , PLEASE let me know!! Thanks in advance and see you out there!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Nathan Box : Nov 6th

      Adam, best of luck. I hope you get the date you want.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Kevin Neft : Nov 8th

    I too look forward to truly meeting everyone out there. I know a lot of our paths won’t cross, but a good some will. I am excited to share the story of PCT 2020 with all there is.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Emily and Parkes : Nov 10th

    March 30th here! Already started praying for all of us, can’t wait to meet you all. May our shoes last longer then 500 miles!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Nathan : Nov 13th

      Amen to that!

      Reply

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