A Million and a Half Reasons Why

I know I’m supposed to hike the PCT. I’m not sure of all the reasons why yet, but I do know I’m supposed to do it.

My mom gave me a PCT overview map in 2014. We were taking a pit stop at a ranger station somewhere near Jackson, CA. She found it in a free pamphlet section and thought I might like it. I wasn’t a backpacker yet; I just thought it was a interesting map, so I kept it. Somehow that map came to college with me. I hung it on my dorm room wall. After moving out of the dorms and into a college rental house I pinned it up there. It made the dirty walls fell safer, more like a home. I was always looking at it, but never imagining that I would attempt to hike it.

Eventually in 2017 I hiked the John Muir Trail, but I still had no idea I would want to hike the PCT. Two days out from the end of the JMT it dawned on me that I had to hike the PCT, but I had no concrete reason as to why.

After I got off the John Muir Trail it begin to make sense as to why I had the urge to attempt this massive hike. I had spent my childhood living only miles from a PCT access point at Carson Pass, CA. As a little kid I played in the ponds near Winnemucca Lake and caught frogs as I watched PCT hikers walk by. In high school I would run that section of trail for cross country practice. Outside of practice I would go there in my spare time to clear my head and get grounded. During summer drives past that access point I would give hitches to PCT hikers.

My connection to they trail didn’t stop there. My first job was as a camp cook at Echo Lake Sleep Away Camp along the PCT. Back then people would use the camp as a resupply point. I grew up going to that camp and would see PCT hikers walk past it every season. While I worked there I would hand out peoples’ resupply boxes. My boss had forbidden the kitchen staff from feeding the PCT hikers while they received their boxes, but I always thought they were really interesting, so I would feed them anyway. They were dirty. They had hair everywhere. They looked like they had been through hell and back. How could I not feed theses miserable souls? I wouldn’t talk to them for long; I’d simply hand them their package, sneak them a meal out the back door, and send them on their way, but they had me captivated.

Little did I know that years later I would have the hope of eventually ending up in the same place as those “miserable souls.” I’ve never felt like I was destined to do something, but when I look back at all the ties I have to the PCT it just seems obvious that I’m supposed to hike this trail.

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