Why the PCT?
Taking on the Pacific Crest Trail has been on my mind for some time now. As cliche as it sounds, the first time I really heard of the PCT was when my stepmom gave me a copy of “Wild” while I was in college. The idea of hiking such a distance seemed so far out of reach at that time, but eventually I took the leap.
In the summer of 2015, I booked a last-minute flight to Europe and walked the French Way of El Camino de Santiago. Before embarking on this 900-kilometer journey, I had no idea how lost I truly was until I found myself along the way. The simplicity of carrying only the essentials, walking the day away, meeting incredible people, and taking in amazing scenery was addicting.
The following summer, I had my first (real) encounter with the Pacific Crest Trail. (The first time I was on the PCT was at Mt. Hood in 2012 and I didn’t even know that I was hiking on the trail!) As a student on a 50-day Outward Bound course, I found myself hiking a section of the PCT in the North Cascades of Washington. I felt the magnitude of the trail with each step I took and was determined to come back and hike the whole thing one day. A year and a half later, here I am.
So, why am I thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail? This has been a frequently asked question when friends and family hear of my plans. Other frequently asked questions include: who is going with you, are you bringing a gun or a taser, and are you really not going to shower for five months? For an outsider, a young woman planning to hike 2,660 miles by herself in this day and age is seen as irresponsible and dangerous. What a lot of these people don’t understand is the gravitational pull I feel toward the journey of the PCT.
As I began planning last summer, I still wasn’t sure why I felt so drawn to take on the Pacific Crest Trail. I was sure I wanted to prove something to myself and have an incredible adventure, but that reasoning still didn’t add up in my head. Finally it hit me during a dawn patrol hike for first tracks last month. I am hiking home.
Over the years, there has been a shift in my perspective of the meaning of home. From leaving my childhood home in an instant, to losing my mother, and moving each season following my college graduation, I have been missing a place to call home. The Pacific Crest Trail winds through places where I have felt more at home than I have in a while, places where I have felt wild and free.
Here’s to living the simple life, taking in the little things, and to one hell of an adventure.
Stay tuned for updates on my preparation as May quickly approaches.
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