Taking the First Step into the Unknown
Venturing off on my first thru-hike, I can only imagine the trail ahead. I have an overwhelming anticipation of exploring the unknown, not only in the natural landscape, but also in my mind and body. Am I capable of this trek? Can I complete something, which until this moment, I’ve only dreamed about? Was quitting a job I love to pursue this venture going to be worth it? There is an uneasiness and excitement that follows such a big leap.
My mind is constantly consumed with the trail – planning, purchasing, training, packing – always focused on the logistics. Reading and rereading blogs daily. Are you ever fully prepared for a thru-hike? I think not.
When I tell family, friends, and colleagues that I’ve chosen to walk from Mexico to Canada they all seem to ask the same questions.
“You’re doing what?! And for how long?”
“Are you scared? Are you going to take a gun?
“Why? Why, would you want to do that?”
I begin the conversation, “Well, I’m walking 2,650 miles in about five months.” Before I can speak another word I’m swarmed with hundreds of other concerned questions: “What will you eat? Drink? Where will you sleep?” I do my best to explain, but let’s be honest, I have no clue what I’m doing! I’ve camped and I’ve hiked, but never for an extended period of time. So am I scared? A little! But my excitement and eagerness to push my limits in the great wilderness shadow any doubt I feel. This trail has been on the back of my mind for years and I can’t stop thinking about it. I want a life where I feel like I’m living and not just existing. A path that challenges me. To walk with like-minded individuals who understand my choices that others might see as crazy. That is what the PCT represents for me now. Of course, I could be terribly mistaken and this whole thru-hike shenanigans isn’t for me. I guess we will find out soon enough.
Oh, and NO Mom, I’m not taking a gun!
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