The Rollercoaster has Already Begun

Oh, the rollercoaster, a very prevalent thought in my mind this past month. Or at least in the month of January.

From November through January, the permit process for the PCT took me for a ride I was never expecting. For all of the years that I’ve been considering hiking this trail, there has always been this fear in the back of my mind: “What if I don’t get a permit when the timing is right for me to hike the trail?”

The “Start” of the Rollercoaster

When the first round of NOBO (northbound) permits was released in November and Maggie and I didn’t get a permit, I was so scared this fear had come true. We then had to wait an excruciating few months until January 9th when my heart sunk to the bottom of my chest when we were given a late time slot to sign up… again. On the 10th I spent the whole day trying to convince myself that it would be fine, everything would work out the way it is meant to.

Finally, our time slot rolled around. I felt like I was going to throw up I was so nervous. We flipped to the month of May, the earliest we could start, and we saw permit slots that were open. Something other than red! We picked a permit on the earliest day we could, spending a few minutes checking over our information and submitting our joint application. The next 30 minutes were some of the craziest I had yet to experience as it sunk in that my long-time dream was finally on its way to coming true.

I thought the PCT rollercoaster began here in this process, but in truth, it started a long time ago. The trail is already here. Day zero was a long long time ago when the words “Pacific Crest Trail” first crossed my mind and I’ve been putting one foot in front of another for some time now.

The permit process was a huge up and down for me, and I will continue to go through these points of turmoil in my preparation for this hike. I’m constantly shifting from nervous energy to excited energy to calm energy and back again. But what is life if not filled with these ups and downs?

Soaking it in

It’s easy for me to get lost in wishing these next three months away. To drag my feet through assignments and constantly countdown the seconds until I toss my cap in the air and step foot on trail. But I will only be this version of myself once. There will only be one time in life when I am anxiously awaiting this. This moment is fleeting and before I know it I’ll be on trail and in a blink of an eye I’ll be in Canada. So I’m trying my hardest to slow it down. To soak in time with my family, my friends, and my last semester of college. To take a deep breath and lean into everything I’m feeling. I’ve been waiting to live out this dream for such a long time, and I’m going to enjoy every second of it.

I don’t know where my steps will take me in the next few months, but going North has always felt like coming home to me, and this journey has been a long time coming. So here we go, let’s go on an adventure.

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