Tales From The Trail
I have only been hiking for 5 weeks and have covered just over 500 miles. I have met so many amazing people and I’ve learned so much about myself. I can honestly say the PCT so far has been one of the best life experiences I’ve had yet.
It has made me more present in my own life, and has given me a feeling of fulfillment that I’ve never had before. I have learned that I am so much more capable than I ever thought I could be. There is really no other place I’d rather be than on the trail.
Despite that, there are times where I just want to curl up on the trail and not move. I hate looking up at a big climb knowing that in the near future I will be going up it. My knees and feet throb with pain some days, and others finding the desire to hike is difficult. However, once I get up the climb I’ve been dreading, take some ibuprofen, and turn off my headlamp and get into my sleeping bag, it all becomes worth it. I feel completely exhausted, but so capable and fulfilled by my body and mind’s ability to keep going even when I didn’t want to.
My favorite memories are not so much about the places and the hike itself, but the people I am with. They are what have made this hike such a good experience.
Picking just one memory as my favorite is impossible. When I think of my hike so far, the first thing that pops into my, head is our first time as a large group cowboy camping. All 10 of us were camped together in a line on top of a little ridge. We laid in our sleeping bags laughing and looking at the stars.
That very small blip of time may seem like nothing. However, thinking about it makes me appreciate the time I have with people out here a little more. Because I will never get that moment in time with those people ever again. Knowing that makes each step in the journey worth it.
I haven’t written anything regarding my gear yet, so I figured I’d go into what I have that I like and what I’m switching out. This is just based on personal preference. I’m not a professional at all.
First off, I have an Osprey Eja 58 liter pack. It’s a great pack and very comfortable, but it is heavy. So I’ll be switching to a lighter pack once I’m done with the PCT.
Next, my sleeping set up is a Nemo switchback and an 18 degree Sea to Summit bag. I love the switchback. It is so convenient to have; I use it to sleep and on breaks. Definitely one of my favorite pieces of gear. I will be returning my Sea to Summit bag for a few reasons; the zipper is awful, I don’t like the hood, and I think I’d be more comfortable in a quilt. I also may or may not have slept with a gummy worm one night that created a small mess. That being said, I’m swapping it for a Enlightened Equipment quilt. I have a jacket from them and love it, and a lot of my friends use them and love them.
Clothing choice for the PCT is pretty important. I currently am wearing the Mountain Hardware Crater Lake sun hoodie (men’s). I use a basic pair of REI brand shorts that I’m switching for Patagonia baggies. Mainly because the REI shorts are just not holding up well.
Socks are Darn Toughs, of course, and I use injinji liner socks, which are the best thing ever. I started without the liner socks and got toe blisters. Since I’ve been wearing the liner socks I have not had a single toe blister. In regards to shoes, I’m currently wearing the Altra Olympus 5s and love them.
When I started this journey, I started with my friend Sierra aka Hotmess. It was her idea to do the PCT in the first place. We decided to do it because we both needed a change in pace. We were so nervous worried we wouldn’t make friends or we’d be miserable. I’m not sure why we were nervous, because we have made so many friends and we love it.
Her trail name is Hotmess and there are a few reasons for that. On day one mile one she rolled her ankle in campo on the road. This was the catalyst to her getting her trail name Hotmess. In her time on the trail she rolled her ankle, dropped her water filter off a cliff, spilled pizza grease all over her pack, possibly contracted “giardia”, and a few other things that aren’t coming to my mind.
She truely is the trail entertainment, and will be missed on trail. She is getting off because thru hiking is and expensive endeavor. Sierra, you will be missed!
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