The Whys of My PCT Thru-Hike

In my attempts to remain as present as possible for the last few months leading up to my thru-hike, I have been putting off thinking and/or talking about the reasons why I am embarking on such a monumental journey. Aside from the normal questions asked by friends and family about pack weight, food choices, and other questions related to the logistics of a thru-hike, I have not had to gather my thoughts and reflect on the true reasons as to why I’m leaving for another four- to five-month adventure. With my start date on the horizon (May 12), I thought it was about time to come to terms with these reasons and think about why exactly I have chosen to drastically change my lifestyle and the thought processes that go along with it. So, without further ado, here are my top five reasons for hiking the PCT.

Stagnant lifestyle: Despite having a comfortable lifestyle from the career choice I made, I couldn’t help but feel like my life wasn’t progressing in the direction I had hoped. My need for regularly scheduled adventures into the outdoors grew at an exponential rate after my AT thru-hike, and the job I found myself in was not conducive to this basic need. The work-life balance that I so desperately wanted wasn’t there and so a feeling of being stagnant or trapped began to set in. I was going to work to collect a paycheck, but I wasn’t able to get away and recharge by spending time doing the things I love to do. My hope is that this hike clarifies where my moral compass is pointing and also guides me in the direction of where the next chapter of my life should begin.

To experience true freedom again: Nowhere else in my life have I been able to experience true freedom other than the time that I spent hiking the AT. Not only is it a liberating feeling to hike through the woods with all your possessions strapped to your back, but it also is a catalyst to my next reason for hiking the PCT.

Simplification 2.0: While I would say I’ve lived a pretty minimalistic lifestyle post AT thru-hike, I feel like I have slowly begun to enjoy the comforts associated with living in a city a little too much. Accumulation of pointless shit happens quickly and easily without a conscious effort on my part to keep things pared down, and I soon find myself taking trips to Goodwill while wondering where in the hell all this stuff came from. Although widely considered within my group of friends as an extreme method to return back to a more simplistic lifestyle, this thru-hike will surely help me pare back down to the bare bones essentials.

Another adventure with a true friend: On the AT, I met an individual that would come to shape my entire mind-set and ultimately (unbeknown to him) help me develop into the person today. I consider him to be my best friend as well as my mentor simply due to all of the life lessons I have learned from him as well as the experiences we shared together. His “love where you’re at” mentality is now something I carry with me every day and I could not be more excited to embark on another life-changing adventure with him.

Triple Crown aspirations:  I left for my first thru-hike without any thought of hiking all three major long-distance trails in the United States. Once plans for the PCT began to materialize, this thought slowly started to creep its way into the back of my mind. Barring injury or unforeseen circumstances that force me off the PCT, my need for a sense of accomplishment won’t let me complete two of the three major thru-hikes without at least making a future attempt at the coveted Triple Crown.

With less than a month left until I start at the Southern Terminus in California, all that’s left is to enjoy the time I have left in Austin, send out my first few mail drops, and finalize my gear list. Stay tuned for a comprehensive breakdown of my ultra mega superlight gear list and the reasoning as to how I arrived at the items that I’ll be bringing with me.

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