My 25 Goals for the PCT That Aren’t About Reaching Canada
I can be a little single-minded. It’s a trait that has served me well in much of my life, but also has some major downsides. When I’m focused on some endpoint, I often miss the journey to get there.
The whole point of the PCT is the journey. There’s nothing all that special about the monument at the northern terminus; all the magic happens on the 150 days before Manning Park.
So I’ve been building a set of intentions about what I’d like to experience that are all about the journey, not the destination. I want to appreciate even the most difficult moments, and I’ll try not to actually worry about whether I reach the Canadian border.
Below is the list of goals I’ve put together to try to cultivate appreciation and awareness.
- Get comfortable with extended, undistracted solitude
- Eat dinner with my feet dangling in a freezing cold stream
- Walk through a meadow during a full moon
- Cook dinner on a very windy evening, with some ridiculous windbreak set up to protect my small stove flame
- Sleep listening to rain against my tent walls
- Hike two miles before dawn
- Set up a tent in the dark
- Cross a freezing cold Sierra stream
- Eat wild blackberries straight from the bush
- Correctly identify at least five types of trees that I don’t already know
- Hike at least a marathon distance in a single day
- Help someone having a difficult time
- Go ten days straight without email or cell signal
- Sleep solo at least ten times (no other tents in my campsite)
- Survive a terrible day in each of the major sections without quitting (Desert, Sierra, NorCal, Oregon, and Washington)
- Eat apple pie in Julian
- Eat at Paradise Valley Cafe
- Summit Mt Whitney
- Soak at Deep Creek Hot Springs
- Touch Crater Lake
- See a Monarch butterfly
- Cross the Bridge of the Gods
- Walk all day through a steady rain without complaining
- Maintain some type of daily mindfulness or meditation practice
- Find at least one thing to be grateful for every single day
If you’ve got ideas or suggestions on things I should do while I’m on the trail, please share in the comments or on Instagram.
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