So how did we come upon this crazy idea of ours to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail? When we finally realized it was crazy not to.
A little bit before Christmas, we headed out into the woods to get away from the world, as we often do. We were heading to the falls we got married at. We hadn’t done this trail since that day, when we hiked in as boyfriend and girlfriend, and out as husband and wife. On this winter day, we reminisced about the wedding, and talked of how much had changed in the surroundings. The trail and falls looked completely different, covered in snow and ice, than they did five short months ago on that sunny summer day. Everything was different.
We began to talk about what we wanted our life to look like, which often begins with wild and crazy ideas, then narrows to more realistic (and boring) ones. We’d been talking about moving, either back to Portland (Maine) or to the west coast. Jason joked that we should walk to wherever we move instead of drive, and we got caught up in this fantasy of walking across the country. This has been our go-to fantasy when our jobs are feeling really tough, and we want an escape. At some point on our way back on the groomed snow trail, I asked aloud, “Well, if this is something we really want to do, why can’t we do it?” (This may have been more of a revelation to me than Jason, who was quicker to jump on board.)
Back home, the fantasy got a little more concrete as we began throwing around ideas of walking for a cause, and researching others who have walked across the country. We discovered it would take a little longer than we maybe wanted to be walking, and the routes weren’t always that scenic.
Then we began to throw around the idea of hiking a long trail. Jason had already hiked the Appalachian Trail, so that was out. It would have to be something new to both of us that we could experience together. I had just read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (Yes, there, I said it, this wonderful book was, in part, my inspiration), and threw out the idea of the Pacific Crest Trail. We also looked at other trails like the Continental Divide Trail (a little more than I was ready for), or the Pacific Northwest Trail (a little less than we were looking for).
From that night on, our fantasy revolved around the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT, for short). We didn’t commit to any more than just toying around with the idea, but the more we both thought and talked about it, the more excited we became. In an attempt to shake a real answer out of me, Jason began telling me tales of how hard thru hiking is, what it is really like. I think he did this because he really wanted me to say yes to this, but wanted to really make sure I meant it, and wanted it.
I wanted it. The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. And when I say sense, I mean I felt it. It felt so right. During all of the previous thinking and planning out our next steps, ideas of places to move, jobs to apply to, I was riddled with indecision and anxiety. But with this plan, there was none of that. It settled into my brain so snugly, and then stretched out and relaxed there, until we both finally admitted this is what we had to do. We would quit our jobs, spend the summer hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, then stay out west at the end of it and see what will happen next.
I truly believe that one right decision leads to another. All my previous anxiety fell away, because those previous plans were not the right plans. I so strongly believe that if we continue saying yes to what our hearts want out of life, we’ll continue to be led to doors, and more doors we hadn’t even thought of will open up. So far, this has been true. Things are falling into place quite magically.
We also dropped the idea of doing this for some kind of cause –doing this because it is something we want to do in our life is the cause. This is another reason our plan feels so right. Jason and I are both coming to realize, for both separate and similar reasons, that neither of us are that suited for a “normal” life. (Let’s just admit it, neither one of us is that normal.) And I am finally completely ok with that.
This hike, then, is not an escape from “the real world.” This is the real world, lived out how we want to live it, not how convention dictates we should. We are both finally actively figuring out how we fit into the life that we make, rather than trying to fit into lives that society makes for us.
Since this decision, I have settled into feeling like myself in a way I haven’t felt for quite some time now. (It feels so good to be true to yourself.)
I’d like to leave you with one last thought –this lovely piece I came across while making the decision.
In the posts leading up to our hike, I will share what we’re doing to prepare for the hike; why packing and purging for a cross-country move is so liberating; and maybe even a sneak peak of what’s in my backpack (without getting gear-heady!); and what is the PCT anyway?
Stay tuned! Subscribe by email with the button at the bottom and never miss a post!
Here’s to saying yes!
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February 24, 2015 at 5:45 pm
Jealous, but excited to read about your adventure! I’m bookmarking this site!
Monkey Bars, PCT section hiker
February 24, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Thanks Monkey Bars! Looking forward to reading your blog as well!
February 25, 2015 at 1:10 am
Excellent. Since you first tipped me off that this might happen, I have been waiting for more details. I’m really glad that one of you has done a long thru-hike. That should help a lot with the preparations and getting through those first few days. I for one will not object if I get a lot of updates from you as you travel along your journey.
February 25, 2015 at 1:13 am
Thanks Chuck! Yes, I’m already enjoying writing about, helps me process and synthesize it all. We’ll keep in touch!
February 25, 2015 at 12:38 pm
Super excited for you and wishing you best of luck. PCT is on our list for 2017. It’s always nice to connect with like minded hikers.
February 25, 2015 at 1:47 pm
Thank you! We’re super excited too! Good luck in 2017. Your blog looks great 🙂
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February 27, 2015 at 10:58 am
Good luck! We will be doing it in 2016, and I am loving the blogs I am finding this year so I can live vicariously for just a bit longer!
February 27, 2015 at 8:49 pm
Thanks! Yes previous year’s blogs have been so helpful and inspiring for me!
March 2, 2015 at 10:04 pm
Just food for thought, you could write a book about your trip. If you do, I would definately read it! 🙂
March 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm
Thanks Amelia, that’s a good idea!
March 4, 2015 at 8:17 pm
March 26, 2015 at 8:35 am
SOO excited for you two !~ Your mom told me and gave me your blogs address. Keep us all informed, post pics occasionally and enjoy the beauty you will encounter along the way. Look forward to learning your trail names !!
March 26, 2015 at 9:11 am
Thanks Deb! Glad you are following 😄 we’re excited for the adventure!
April 18, 2015 at 12:31 am
Wow! Your story and your blog has made me more curious to know about your adventures. I am excited to know more and will look forward to know more about your PCT. Best Wishes!!
April 18, 2015 at 9:26 am
Thank you Ruchi! We are excited too!
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