Why Am I Hiking the PCT?

“So why are you hiking all the way from Mexico to Canada?” I am often asked, with a jaw dropped to go with it.

On the day before I start my PCT thru-hike, I’ll tell you why.

In all honesty, because I really want to. It’s been a dream of mine for years and this past October I thought to myself:

“Well, I’m not getting any younger and I don’t have a family yet, so what better time than now? Giddyup, girl.”

I think that’s often a typical thought process of mine:

What better time than now?

Photo credit to my friend Justin May currently on the PCT: @vortex_on_trail

What Do I Want

In the summer of 2017, I was teaching yoga for my dear friend Aimee’s sacred expression writing retreat for women. I also had the good fortune of partaking in the writing exercises with the other women. On one occasion we were asked to write about what we want, what we desire.

One of the things I wrote was:

“I want to hike the PCT my way and not yours.”

Another line:

“I want to crawl out of my tent in a thick blanket of snow and act calmly in ways that keep me alive.”

Ironically enough, I may actually have to deal with that sort of situation this season on trail. Dang, I gotta be careful of what I wish for next time.

There was a woman named Ellen in the circle. Ellen was a lawyer who was in the midst of redirecting her career to become a therapist. She was a firecracker of a woman, and she shared this one desire that stuck deeply with me:

“I want to leave a love poem everywhere I go.”

For some reason, when I was reflecting on my reasons for wanting to hike the PCT a few months back, that sentiment kept popping into my head again and again. It marinated with me and started seeping in, deeper and deeper.

Core Values

Three of my core values are authenticity, balance, and love. Authenticity because I want to be real-deal all the time, with myself and others. Balance because I believe this is the way to live life most fully, to savor all experiences, even the naughty ones once in a while. Love to me isn’t just the princess in the castle fairy tale stuff; love is presence. Being able to sit with someone or something while totally present; I believe that’s a form of sincere love.

I think this is why I dig the idea of leaving a love poem everywhere I go while hiking the PCT. Not in the literal sense, of course, as that wouldn’t comply with Leave No Trace principles, and I probably wouldn’t get anywhere since I’d be writing all the time. But I can BE a love poem. I can be present with my surroundings and everyone I meet. I can be kind, compassionate, and patient with myself and others. Don’t get me wrong; I know that some love poems are heart-wrenching and painful, which I know the trail will be at times. That’s life, baby. I also don’t expect myself to always be sunshine and roses. I’m talking full spectrum, all encompassing kinda love here. I can weave this love poem into how I walk and that unique snowflake kinda way I carve out my own hike.

Photo credit: @vortex_on_trail

This thru-hike isn’t just about me and my journey. It’s about everything and everyone I encounter, and the impact I have the power to make. Can I make you laugh? Can I listen when you bitch about your sore feet? Can I share some of my beloved chocolate supply with you when you run out? Can I hold you in my arms even if you smell and give you a hug when you need it? Can we live as contentedly as possible in between the goal and realizing the goal?

So there’s my big intention with hiking the PCT this year.

I want to leave a love poem everywhere I go.

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