What’s better than doing nothing?
That’s easy. Doing something. That’s the reason I section hike.
When I first decided to the hike the PCT, to be completely honest, I was going through a mid-life crisis. I didn’t know what was next. For many years I had been primarily concerned with running our home while my husband worked in the corporate world. Lately though, I had noticed that some time was beginning to open up for me to pursue individual interests. It was like I could see my past coming into focus, a polaroid image slowly developing. Reminding me of the person I used to be years ago. One day I even said out loud in the car, “OH YEAH! I forgot I like REI!” I can’t really explain how this all got shoved down. No one asked me to do it. I just compartmentalized my loves and didn’t let them meet. Blocks over Boulders. Elmo over Elevation.
I thought I was being a good wife and mother.
By putting aside my hobbies and interests and individual pursuits (which paled in comparison to those sweet people), I thought I was keeping myself sharp, my focus keen and therefore more effective. Maybe it was. But I also think I was robbing myself, and them. To quote Slingblade, “We could have had fun sometimes.” I have no idea where that reference came from – but you get my point, what the heck was I thinking? Get them out there! Do it with them, stuff them in the backpack, shove them in the canoe, give them the Mountain House blues.
I found the PCT on accident while planning our vacay.
I saw it on the map and was instantly intrigued. I have this weird habit of researching stuff, and I mean hard. When I get interested, it’s on like the Donkey Kong. For weeks after finding the PCT, I pored over fb groups, websites, blogs, archives, articles, potentially creeped out a thru-hiker I met by accident, attended classes, watched YouTube. I’d get all my domestic stuff done as quickly as possible, then indulge in learning about it. Almost immediately I knew – somehow – I would hike this trail.
I told myself it was both possible and IMpossible.
My brain split into two camps. One side was telling me to keep learning and preparing because all of this would be unfolding soon. The other side was saying, Why are you setting yourself up for disappointment? You can’t step out of this complicated life that so depends on you and do this super out-there thing. As the thoughts came, I would validate them all and file them appropriately as I kept chugging along, preparing for a trip I wasn’t even sure I was going to take. I did the depressing math – for sure all I could afford was a week every year – roughly 100 miles – terminating in random places which would get harder and harder to find rides to and from – eeesh. Did not look good.
End the end, it boiled down to two words.
And those two words are….WHY and NOT. Why not go for it. I would be doing something 26.5 years from now – why not let it be finishing the PCT? Like many other things in my life so far, I would show up as prepared as possible and sort out the kinks as they presented themselves. But I would show up.
Another two word phrase that helps me? SO WHAT. So what if I’m less cool, less relevant, less tested than the thru hikers? So what if I have more logistical issues? So what if I’m in my 70s when I stand on the northern terminus? What matters is getting out there and seeing what I’ve got. Hearing the crunch of decomposed granite under my shoes and knowing I’m on that sacred ground, for however long.
Canada, I’m comin’ for ya! Just really slowly so you have lots of time to prepare.
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