T-minus 2 Weeks

When most folks talk about what they are doing to prepare for their PCT thru hike, they talk about working out and doing shakedown hikes and packing some food resupplies. Maybe even buying plane tickets to San Diego. Well, I bought some plane tickets but not to San Diego. I am in Europe for two weeks! Perhaps not my most logistically sound choice, but the choice I made nonetheless. I have a couple good friends who graduated before me and came over here to do their masters degrees.

Scotland and Holland

When I say here, I mean these crazy ladies came to the Netherlands and Scotland to study.

Regiment history day at Edinburgh Castle with a member of the Scots Greys.

I have learned some key differences in these two locations. For instance, in Scotland, the granola bars that I bought as souvenirs to eat while on the PCT are called flapjacks. (Nope, they have absolutely nothing in common with pancakes). In the Netherlands, the one I bought has a name in dutch so I really couldn’t tell you what its called. But, I checked the calorie amounts, and yes they meet the calorie per weight requirement to bring them on the PCT. (For you newbs out there, we are shooting for at least 100 calories per ounce, based purely on what the Halfway Anywhere blog says. Maybe they are right, maybe not, but it’s a number and I like numbers).

So, despite the fact that I am in another country, I am still thinking ALOT about my very quickly arriving start date for the PCT. Conveniently, my preferred mode of transportation in foreign cities is by foot (coincidence, I think not). This way, you get to see the lay of the land and I can build a mental map most easily on foot. So, for at least several days in a row, I was walking more than 10 miles a day, which I’d say is pretty darn good considering I’m walking along cobblestone streets in my clogs, and I plan on starting the PCT with similar mileage to let my joints ease into things.

Plus, I am here, posting on the blog and that counts as preparation, right? And I’m buying gear online. Maybe a little late to still be honing in my gear, but it’s been a crazy couple months, so I’ll take what I can get.

But is it enough?

Despite doing what I can in between meandering across foreign cities, I am getting jittery. I obsessively check the Farout maps for new reports on water levels and where snow is sticking around, and I’m writing all sorts of lists. There are grocery lists and lists of people to send postcards to and precisely what I’ll pack for that wedding that I’ll have to leave the trail for, and lists of ideas for future blog posts, and maybe I need to stop. I need to look around and remember that I made an active choice to visit friends in far off lands. I get to be part of their adventurous lives and be inspired, bringing home more than just my own spirit of adventure. Even though my journey is very different than theirs, when I am present here with them, I can see the way they have adapted to their surroundings and the way they have been flexible with their lives. Those memories are the real souvenirs that I will bring to the trail with me, and if I can hold onto those things tightly, maybe this trip will have been exactly what I needed to prepare for the PCT. I will create a home on the trail (albeit a mobile one) in the same way they created homes in new places, and just like them I will learn new customs and cultures and slang. The challenge of the trail is to be relished, not organized into to do items (although many things admittedly do need to get done before I am fully ready). So, I will try to stop making too many lists and in the little bit of time I have left here, I will be present and care for my spirit of adventure.

P.S, My “good thing” of the day is that we had the bouldering gym here almost all to ourselves today, which is a nice change of pace from the hoards in Seattle gyms.

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Comments 2

  • Anton : Mar 30th

    How many pastries did you eat? I aim for 1 per mile walked.

  • val vitols : Mar 30th

    Hello Heidi, would you like to arange a pre hike inter view on zoom when you get a chance? Uuiversal Hiker You Tube Channel


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