Vagary, n. (Wait, What?)

I suppose I should introduce myself before I start throwing out precariously spelt vocabulary words. My name is Tory Wilkinson, a twenty-something year-old setting out on the PCT in April of 2015. My intentions for through-hiking are vast and my on-trail desires are few (mainly to not die). I know very little in the grand scheme of things but I do know I like words; using them, stringing them together to make them sound eloquent or sarcastic, defining them, allowing for them to bring up emotions, etc. And so with that said, here I am – a hopeful PCT Hiker, sharing words with the through-hiking community.

Now, back to the precariously spelt word. Vagary, said similarly to vague, came into my vocabulary this past Monday evening while scrolling through my Instagram feed. My stop and go thumb-scrolling usually goes through the typical inspirational hiking, outdoors, yoga pictures, but there was one that made the me pause a few extra moments – and not because I thought the word, well you know what word, was there. The photo was a black background with white font that blatantly stated “Vagary, n. The mistake is thinking there can be an antidote to the uncertainty.” Being well acquainted with the hypothetical trail-situations and hesitations of committing myself to the trail for a half-year, I was taken aback when an Instagram post suggested that maybe, just maybe, there is no cure to the qualms. And furthermore, this post was suggesting I should sit and welcome the unexpected.

The real definition of vagary is, “an unexpected and inexplicable change in a situation,” confirming that the only absolute of the trail is the uncertainty of every moment. All the success stories and inspirational pictures, all the blog posts, all the preparation, planning, and training cannot prepare me for the VAGARY of the PCT. As much as I like to think I am prepared, I’m not nor will I ever be for the bewilderment of the trail. But honestly, that’s why were all here, right? To face something bigger than ourselves, to find our edge, to push our limits, to go through the fire and see what comes out on the other side. Ultimately, to salsa dance with all the vagary the trail has waiting for us, to tango with the ‘unexpected and inexplicable changes in a situation’, and to sing victorious songs when we summit the next mountain after doing all that dancing.

So, trail (and life), bring on the vagary! …which I am still saying entirely wrong in my head

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?