PCT Prep: Why I’m Letting It Go
Don’t worry! I am still thru-hiking the PCT in March 2020, but I’ve had to put my obsession with prepping aside for a bit. It has been a while since I have blogged. Writing came easily at the time of the initial excitement of my announcement and then inspiration was clouded by “the stuff.”
Initially, I wanted to claim a space as a funny, quirky writer with a flare for the dramatic; a relatively unlikely hiker, like you or maybe your friend. But, as this novice thru-hiker has learned, I was in for a major change. A change that caused me to stop writing entirely. That unexpected change came far before I set foot on the PCT.
Training and Planning Is Overwhelming Me
You see, I’ve never been backpacking, which is a cause for pause in some people. Usually they want to hear more. Next. I have a husband who I will be leaving for five months to live outside, alone. A response to that is always a concerned: “Oh, really?” As if to say, “Is your marriage on the rocks?” I put on my confidence jacket and own that I am lucky to have Joe who supports me. And, lastly, if my audience has managed to stay with me, I share that I have three young daughters, all whose next birthdays I will miss. Silence.
This silence from others is what has given me pause. I don’t know where the shame crept into my subconscious, but now it’s in there. And it makes me question if I can handle this overwhelming pressure, training and family responsibilities.
The PCT Is Calling Me
The PCT has called and I must absolutely go. This much is certain. However, I am actively choosing to miss my daughters’ next birthdays. They will turn four, eight and ten. I will miss the end-of-year performances, family days, and summer gymnastics workouts. I will miss finding out their new teachers and the first days of school. The first day of pre-K and third grade – the first day of fifth grade.
Planning Will Have to Wait
I’m focusing on them. I’m putting down the kitchen scale, my pack scale, any scale really. I’m setting my pack and gear to the side. Those items and that process can wait for two months. The PCT can wait; my daughters cannot.
So, for moving forward, we will celebrate their birthdays, their school achievements, and continue our movie marathons. We will go to gymnastics meets together and sign the oldest up for karate at the rec center. I will continue to perfect my French braiding skills and maybe attempt a Dutch braid. Joe and I will do date nights, even if it is hanging out on the porch after the kids go to bed or binge watching some fantasy or sci-fi thing he likes.
My YouTube channel will focus on what PCT ideas the girls have and will be directed by them. At nighttime, I’m going to put them to bed and smell their hair and kiss their noses. I’ll continue to tell them I love them ad nauseam. As we all fight for the blanket in our bed, I will listen as each of them read their bedtime book out loud. As the yawns begin and they try to stay in our bed to sleep, I think to myself: I have two more months of training, but the training I’m focused on is them.
(Although they are taking center stage right now, I am wearing my trail runners to bed—snuggling is great, but it won’t get me up over Forester Pass.)
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