PCT Permit Approved and College Degree in Hand
On Nov. 14, after an hour and a half in the online PCT permit waiting room, I submitted my 2019 PCT permit application. I thought I would feel great. I didn’t. I was now anxiously awaiting its potential approval.
On the morning of Nov. 27, my students were working quietly on their warm-up so I decided to check my email. My inbox had two emails. One of them was much more exciting than the other. This email was titled Pacific Crest Trail. I opened it and the first line read “congratulations.” That is all I had to read before silently starting to weep.
These tears were happy tears. I quickly pulled it together because the last thing you want eighth graders to see is their student teacher crying. After pulling it together I thought about a few different things. The first was that I would graduate college in a week. Most of my fellow classmates will then go on to full-time teaching jobs… but I’m not. I’m frantically trying to save up money through my climbing gym job, substitute teaching, and side jobs so I can walk into the wilderness for four to five months. After thinking about this for a while and telling myself that I was doing the right thing, I became overwhelmed with a new feeling, a feeling of unlimited freedom.
I was going against the status quo. I wasn’t doing what was expected of me for the first time in my life. From childhood we are told to go to school. First elementary, then middle school, and then high school. After graduating high school you are told that if you want to be successful you must do another four years of school and earn a college degree. I did all these things, and I’m tremendously grateful that I was pushed to do so, but now I am ready to do something that is not expected of me. That I would not have expected of myself until two years ago when I got the idea in my head.
I’ve been thinking about this hike for two years. Saving for it. Planning for it. Dreaming about it. I have just been waiting until I had my degree so that I could go into this trek with minimal outside responsibilities. Before receiving my permit my plan to hike the PCT was just that, a plan. Now that I have the permit it has suddenly become much more real. The real countdown to the PCT begins now!
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