My PCT Hike, a Journey of Awe and Gratefulness

Five months ago I had an idea. Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, to hike the PCT?!

And after all the training, the prep and planning, April is suddenly here and this grand adventure is about to begin!

To consider the enormity of the path- figuratively and literally- laid out before me, l am at once excited and terrified, but mostly in awe …

–Awe of my gumption to dream, and then to begin.

–Awe in my body, taking me to places where many only imagine to go. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is going to be really hard. The trail is 2,650 miles long with 489,000 feet of elevation gain. To complete the distance from Mexico to Canada in the necessary weather-window, I will essentially be walking a half-marathon a day for around 165 days with a heavy pack on my back. It’s the endurance challenge I always wanted to do… in my 20’s!


Ok, let’s get back to awe.

–Awe in the people I’m going to meet from all over the world… new friends yet to come.

–Awe in the simplicity of life on the trail. Each day I just have to walk, and make three decisions: What will I eat?, Where will I get water?, and Where will I sleep? When life is simplified, I notice it more. I live it more deeply. When living with only the basics, I have time to find awe in the landscapes in which I am fully immersed: the dramatic snow-covered mountains, the towering trees, the tumultuous rivers I will cross, and the dragonfly alighting on a leaf. It will all be there for me to notice, to breathe in, and to appreciate. The simplicity is what I’m looking forward to most.

I will probably experience even more awe at the amount of calories I will need to consume (and the size of my poops!), the pain in my body, the extent of my stench, and the rollercoaster of emotions I will feel moment by moment on this journey.

Awe is one of the reasons why I hike and travel and live widely and deeply. I didn’t always have a life that allowed for this. Now I do. I head out today, on the threshold of an incredibly transformative experience, and whatever happens, however far I get, it’s going to be awe-some.

And into the woods I go, to lose my mind and find my soul. The mountains are calling and I must go.

-John Muir


Trip Preparation

Planning an endeavor like this one was both awesome… and, truthfully, overwhelming. For the past few weeks, I’ve been fully focused on shopping, processing meals, packing resupply boxes, learning and practicing with my satellite communicator, trying out everything from shoes, insoles and socks to hiking poles, water bottle holders, and a sun umbrella. I even bought a new pack just last week, in a panic over the shoulder pains my old one was causing me. But now all the prep is done and I’m ready to go!

Over the last month, I prepared about 175 meals to fill eleven different resupply boxes, which my friend will mail to me as I go. Each day I will need huge amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat for a breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert. To keep me healthy and powered, I need to eat well on the trail.


My resupply boxes are filled with food, toiletries, socks and any extra supplies I think I might need on the trail. I feel like each box is a love letter to myself, confidently expecting that I will make it that far on my journey.


This is the contents of my pack- everything I’ll carry for the distance to sleep, eat, filter my water, go to the bathroom, navigate, keep warm, and hitchhike from trail to town and back. Heck, I even remembered the special glasses for the eclipse! When fully loaded, it weighs around 25 pounds without food and water. But when I don’t have to carry the protective bear canister or my ice axe and snow crampons, my pack is a slim 21 pounds.


A Word of Gratefulness

Before I launch myself out across the Mojave Desert, I need to take a few moments to appreciate my friends – my tribe – who got me here. All of those people that lovingly said “Yes, it’s a great idea!”, “You can do this!”, and “How can I help?” I am eternally grateful to you all.

And with that, let the party begin.

PCT 2024, Here I come!

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?