Permit Day: A Thru-Hiker Reveal Party

Up to this point, everything has been theoretical.

Permit Day!

Then the day for applying for a 2020 PCT long-distance permit arrives. You are lucky enough to get a decent enough spot in the queue.  You wait a bit, fill out your permit application and get an “official” starting date (conditional, of course).  Now, things take on a different tone.  Life has moved from the realm of dreaming about hiking the PCT to actually carrying through the last few bits of logistics that will get you on the trail.

I used the Permit Day as the point which I did a larger reveal of my plans to friends and extended family.  Immediate family and close friends already had been clued in over the last few months in a piecemeal fashion.  Maybe even some of them thought that this is just something he’s talking about but actually won’t follow through with.  I did my big announcement on my Facebook page and included links, an explanation of what the PCT was, connections to popular culture (Wild, for example), and ways in which people could follow my progress.

Explaining Your Journey to the People You Know Is Important for Several Reasons

  • It allows them to feel they are part of it by following along, meeting the hiker at some point, or providing some kind of material support.
  • We are so inside our own little thru-hiking world of Instagram, YouTube, and blogs that we often don’t realize that the “normal” world largely does not know about the PCT or any long trails.  They have never heard of Twerk, Darwin, Dixie, or Second Chance Hiker.  Trail angel, zero, cowboy camping, ramen bomb—it’s as though we are speaking another language to them. Explaining a little bit of that to your friends goes a long way and makes it easier for them to buy in.
  • Opening up about your intentions to more people makes it more real for you as well.  Backing out of your hike is much harder to do when everyone you know is aware of what you are doing.  Plus, if you are honest and enthusiastic, most people will reciprocate.  The amount of enthusiastic support I have received has been wonderful.

What’s Next?

More in-depth planning.  Mail drops.  Transportation to the terminus.  Shakedown hikes. You even become familiar with some of the people you might see on the trail through the PCT Class of 2020 Facebook page, here on The Trek, and on Instagram. Though we are hiking alone, it’s starting to feel like more of a community.

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Comments 6

  • Shannon Quadres : Nov 5th

    Well-written! See you on trail!

    • Lance A Goehring : Nov 5th

      Thanks, Shannon! Keep up the great work on The Trek and IG. See you on the trail!

  • Kevin Neft : Nov 18th

    Damn I wish I could remember where I saw it! I read/watched maybe listened to on backpacker radio a piece that had non thru-hikers guess what thru-hiker lingo meant. It was gold, but now I can’t seem to track it down.

    • Lance A Goehring : Nov 18th

      I’m sure my responses on what that lingo meant even just a few years ago would have been pretty humorous.

  • Terry Melissakis : Nov 23rd

    Wishing you a great hiking adventure on your trek thru the PCT looking forward to reading about your journey and having a sense of humor along the way will get you thru the rough spots .
    All the best from a hiking enthusiast

    • Lance Goehring : Nov 23rd

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Terry!


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