Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself
While the whimsical and wild are bound to come in future posts, I hoped to reserve this one to introduce myself to those kind enough to follow along on my journey.
I’m Nate Palmer (He/Him) and beginning in May of 2023 I’ll be attempting a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail northbound (NoBo)! Currently residing in Indianapolis, Indiana I have spent the last seven years acquiring my doctorate in physical therapy. I’m an avid trail runner, rock climber, writer, wannabe photographer, and to no surprise – a hiker!
I consider myself to be a masochist to a degree and am fascinated with stoic and existential philosophy. By choosing a perspective that allows me to identify opportunity in adversity, I seek to find happiness and joy in each present moment. As a relative introvert, I thrive in solitude; however, I likewise love meeting new people! I enjoy being intentional about learning others’ passions, values, and what brings a smile to their faces. What started as an obsession with discovering solitude, backpacking has taught me a new perspective on loving those around me – strangers and those closest to me alike.
The Absurdity I Need
I began truly backpacking in the summer of 2021 with a 53-mile trip in Yosemite’s High Sierra. Having completed a similar length hike on the AT in high school it wasn’t until I reached Yosemite, summiting Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest on the same day, that I realized the wick of obsession was being lit. I ditched my Amazon-purchased gear and began furiously researching ultralight gear (gear list to come!). I scavenged through hundreds of YouTube backpacking videos and podcasts, stumbling upon talks of the Pacific Crest Trail. The flame began to brighten.
“How absurd!”, “Why would you walk for 2,653 miles?”, “Surely I can’t receive a doctoral degree just to immediately go hiking in the woods for months?”. Suddenly, absurdity became the driving force. Yes, walking from the Mexican border to the Canadian border is absurd, comically so. I began to reflect on my life thus far. I had striven to be the perfect student, the perfect professional, and the perfect leader. As friends began to marry, work full-time and have children, I couldn’t help but think – this absurdity may be just what I need.
I’ve since completed multiple 50-mile hikes in Indiana and 70 miles in the Red River Gorge. In August of 2022, I completed the 184-mile Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) in six days. The TRT finish officially gave me the confidence to green light the attempt of the PCT. The experience shook my soul. I had anticipated the highlights of the TRT to be the views and solitude, the dichotomy was that it was truly the people and walking that I loved the most.
As the quote goes: “He who loves walking will walk further
than he who loves the destination.”
A Brief Why
I want to experience adventure unlike any other, to truly live while I’m alive. To take the risks, to do the difficult things with a smile on my face. I crave the hot desert sun, the snow capped sierra, the sore feet. The privilege of voluntary suffering juxtaposed with the surreal beauty that nature has to offer. All of this, alongside the PCT’s class of 2023.
One Foot in Front of The Other
I’m plenty aware any and all plans will tragically and rightfully fall apart on the PCT, but I’m a type A personality so, why not set one up anyway? I intend to set foot at the southern terminus in Campo on Monday, May 15th. I tentatively aim for a 100–105-day hike; although, I will happily oblige to the trail choosing my experience. My goal is not to hike as quickly as I can, but to enjoy hiking quickly – soaking in the sights, towns, and friends I make along the way. To be present within every moment.
“I have been anxious to improve the nick of time and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and the future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.” – Thoreau
I can’t wait to continue sharing my preparations for trail and my journey, once underway. Consider giving me a follow on Instagram and please reach out to say hi, ask questions, and share some love.
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