Pacific Crest Trail NOGO
A Harsh Reality
Most mornings, I wake up with the sudden realization of our painful reality. Instead of waking up in my tent somewhere in the California desert, I wake up in a bed that felt unfamiliar a month ago, but now feels like home. It was March 20, just five days before we were supposed to fly out to San Diego when we had to face the fact that this was not going to be our year to hike the Pacific Crest Trail due to COVID-19. We sacrificed everything to pursue this dream of ours. We have mourned the fact that it has developed into a nightmare. Leaving us homeless, and jobless during a very unsettling time to be those things.
For a few weeks, we were holding out hope that the trail would reopen and we could reapply for permits. A version of our dream where we would still be able to continue with our original plans safely and respectfully. But the PCTA released a statement that the trail would be closed until June 1. We had to come to terms that we needed to give up hope on a 2020 thru-hike. It was a hard pill to swallow. I have wrestled for weeks with my mental health, anxiety, and grief but have just now found peace with our unprompted situation.
Life by the Pond
We are currently living at a lake house on the banks of Shoal Creek. We have three channels, no internet, and no distractions. It truly has been exactly what we needed. A place to heal, a place to lament, and a place to be still. I recently read the book Walden. I was so inspired by Thoreau and his writings of a quiet lifestyle of peaceful solitude. Although unprompted, we now find ourselves living life “by the pond.” A time of stillness, being surrounded by God’s creation, and a calmness I have never known. I wish you all could hear the birds here… and watch the sun set over water so calm it looks like glass. And once the moon shows itself, the sounds of birds quiet, and then the owls, frogs, and crickets make their debut. I never knew sounds alone could paint such a beautiful picture.
A Newfound Hope
Parkes and I have also spent hours rebuilding our 2020 hopes and dreams. We have sacrificed too much to give up on the PCT. So we have decided to postpone to 2021, which gives us a whole year of wishing and waiting. Working a full-time job only to quit less than a year later personally does not seem necessary to us. So we have decided to pursue seasonal work with hopes to thru-hike the Colorado Trail as well as the Arizona Trail if it works within our timeline.
It’s been a rough month, full of so many ups and downs. Life throws us so many curveballs, but with every obstacle, there are countless lessons. I have realized it has all led me exactly to where I need to be. In a few months, I will see the object lesson to all of this. I will understand why things have played out the way they have and it will only leave me stronger and wiser. We are truly amazing creations, and we don’t even realize it. It’s all in there; you just need the right amount of stimuli to tap into greatness and strength you never knew you had. And by the time I step foot on the PCT in 2021, I will treasure every step, every blister, and every ache and pain. I will smile for all 2,652 miles.
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