Why I’m Hiking the PCT in 2023

My hike is not fueled by heartbreak, nor is it a result of severe discontentment in my career or personal life. I am hiking because I know that the PCT will strip me down to my core and expose the innermost parts of my being. Oof, that sounds painful.

As much as I hate to admit it, I live my life very distracted most of the time, often thinking about the next thing on my agenda and rarely fully present in the world around me.

It is January, a month full of New Year’s resolutions, goals, and new beginnings. I don’t really believe in all of that, but I have been thinking a lot about priorities and the life I want to live.

I recently turned 25, which is a weird age because you feel your youth and early twenties slipping away and “adulthood” quickly approaching. I don’t have much of anything in my life figured out, but I do know that I don’t want to look back on my life knowing that I neglected to do the things that I wanted to do—no matter how scary or impossible they seemed. Hiking the PCT scares me, but what scares me more is living a life plagued by mediocrity, comfort, convenience, and distraction.

I want to hike the PCT because I want to experience life as it happens to me. I want to feel raw human emotion and have no way to escape it or numb it. I want to be in the wilderness. I want to talk to God, to feel joy and pain and loneliness and triumph. I want to feel small but also part of something bigger. I want to be still and know.

I recently learned that the Hebrew word for wilderness literally means to speak. Those who go into the wilderness are spoken to—and how much easier is it to listen when you don’t have cell service or Netflix?

Even if they do not identify with a religion, I think that many people would agree that spending an extended period of time in nature is a spiritual experience. The wilderness will undoubtedly test you, it will be uncomfortable, it will break you down, but it will also renew you and refresh your soul. It is where the world makes the most sense. I am hiking the PCT because I know that outside is where I feel the most human and the most alive.

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Comments 4

  • Rich Peterson : Jan 10th

    I think you nailed it on the head!

  • Titouan Le Roux : Jan 11th

    This is a beautifully written post, and I couldn’t relate more with you on why you’re hiking the PCT and also what stage of life you’re going through (I am also 25)!

  • Nancy Hansen : Feb 7th

    I loved every word. You words were a gorgeous expression of your quest to be more than the sum of your parts. I look forward to following you on your journey. Vaya con Dios.❤️ I love you.

  • Tori Pezdirtz : Jan 28th

    I’m in awe. You managed to capture the heart of backpacking. I’ve been hiking my whole life and have yet to find the words. Thank you!!


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