What It Means To Be Part of The Thru-Hiking Class of 2021 (PCT)
With the world slowly going back to normal again. The thought of becoming a 2021 thru-hiker is very humbling and exciting. Especially after many hikers sadly having to get off trail and not complete their 2020 hikes, with many not hoping to see trail again until at least 2022.
Hiking in the new world!
With Covid-19 still being a serious topic in the year 2021, who would think it’s a good idea to do a thru-hike with a pandemic still going on? To answer that question, lots of people! It might be the fact that our stay-at-home orders lasted fifty more weeks than we had hoped for. Vaccines finally becoming available to the public or just being in the middle of nowhere seems like the best-case scenario for social distancing.
But even in this new world, doing a thru-hike still seems scary and that is perfectly ok. Lots of states are lifting their mask mandates (many counties are still enforcing them depending on what states you live in.) Many of the trails in the U.S., specifically the Triple Crown trails, pass through several states. And depending on where you are, your hike might get cut short due to a state lockdown.
Adventure is still out there!
I know it seems crazy to do a thru-hike with the pandemic still going on in full force. But honestly getting outside and away from our homes and cities is what we all need after being cooped up for a year. As a first time thru-hiker and seasoned adventurer, it was nice to find a way to get out. To have an adventure and see the world, but also one that allowed a safe and healthy way to move about the pandemic. It was nice to know that adventure was still out there!
Why It’s an Honor to Thru-Hike in 2021.
Sadly, lots of thru-hikers had to end their journeys short in 2020. And with a lot of things still being up in the air about hiking in 2021, a lot of hikers thought they might have to wait another year before they hit trail again. Which was stressful, but a lot of us got the “go ahead” to get our permits. With the PCT, we were given warnings or strong suggestions to wait another year. Some of us decided to do that. Others thought, “What the hell I’m gonna do it this year.”
I know that a fair number of people still aren’t comfortable with the world in its current state. I know that a lot of them are sad about having to get off trail. They had finally put all of the pieces together after years of planning. And now they don’t even get to do their dream. Instead, now they have to wait, which sucks. Which is why it’s an honor to do a thru-hike in 2021 to be a part of the class of 2021. I am willing to take the risk and do this hike so that maybe again, someday soon, thru-hikers can get back out on trail and enjoy something they love.
It’s amazing the day and age we live in with blogging, vlogging, podcasting, and social media. That those who can’t or don’t feel comfortable about getting out yet can still be a part of this journey. They get to be right there with us, but only at home. And without all of the blisters on their feet, ramen bombs, and the joy of finding it “doesn’t” rain on the PCT. I do applaud those who are sitting at home, probably in your PJs. I do wish you were out there with us, but I know all too well that feeling comfortable is important. Which is why I say grab a tub of ice-cream, get comfy, and enjoy the fact you don’t have blisters… yet.
Hopefully, soon we can all be out there together again!
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