The Art of Beginning the PCT
The beginning is novelty. A dream that even a few days ago was so abstract is now tangible in the dirt in between my toes, the aches in my shoulders and the smile lines I am convinced reach to the depths of my soul.
Tears graced my cheeks as I left the southern terminus and within 15 minutes I felt the whole diaspora of human emotion. Elation. Fear. Disbelief. Freaking the freak out (couldn’t think of a better way to sum up this feeling). I kept hiking.
Eleven miles in I met my first friend. We swapped art forms of paint and photography and since, I have met so many other beautiful spirits, each with their own artful way of being.
My “why” for hiking the PCT is to get out of my head and into my heart. I want to become more interconnected with our mother earth and overcome the challenges she brings. My why is already being tested in the little voices in my head telling me I might not be doing it right. I had to trash my first dinner because it was inedible. My knee aches three days in. My pack is heavy.
Coupled with crippling heat, my emotions were draining me. I confided in a friend that I felt I had to fake know what I was doing. He told me a few important things:
- Everyone is figuring things out
- I don’t need to know it all now (or ever)
- The trail won’t change me because I don’t need to change. This journey will only enhance the me that is.
As for the trail itself, it is beautiful! Rolling green hills, small creeks, forested areas flush with wildflowers, tall grasses made golden during sunrise… each turn leaves me stunned. What a beautiful world! How lucky are we?
The amazing thing about the trail is that it is not the trail that is amazing. The trail is a thin line of dirt. It is simply an artery that allows the traveler to dive into the heart of our raw rugged world. Through it I find myself on the undertaking of a lifetime.
I find myself stretching and laughing on a tarp in the middle of the trail with three new friends. I find myself taping up my knee after pushing longer mileage days than I ever have. I find myself taking small slow steps up a mountain because I am not hustling anymore, I am being.
In three days I have found luxury in dunking in a slimy creek pool and been humbled by cactus pokes, scorching heat, and butterflies poised in their colorful majesty.
Tonight I am camped with thirteen others. Each with our own stories to tell and many more to create. Tonight we are a tribe of walkers and so, for myself and for each of us:
Blessed be the bliss of hard-earned breath.
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.