in 25 days i will stand at the mexican border looking north towards canada. & then i’ll walk 2,666 miles north to reach it. i have squirrelled away entire paychecks towards the gear that, in spite of my relative inexperience, i have decided that i need. i put in my notice at the restaurant where i’ve worked nearly four years a couple of weeks ago. most nights i lay awake wondering what i will feel like the first time i sleep alone under my crinkly eight ounce shelter, what i will feel like after 500 miles, or 2,000.
in many ways the catalyst for all of this was reading my friend emily’s blog of her solo thru-hike of the pct in 2014. after i read it all in one breathless spring week, i found more women’s blogs of their pct hikes. i was totally in awe. slowly i started to wonder whether it was something that maybe i could possibly also do… i thought about it more & more through the summer & into the fall. on day hikes i closed my eyes & tried to imagine myself in the situations that my new heroes described in their blogs.
i met my boyfriend on the internet in the early fall. his pictures were all of him in tiny red shorts at the top of mountain passes w tears in his eyes. we talked a lot about hiking on our first date & then we were together every day for a month & we talked about it a lot more. finally one day as we were driving across the st helens bridge back towards portland i said the words that i’d been chanting like an incantation in my head: “i think i want to hike the pct”. things would either fall into place or they wouldn’t but i couldn’t bear to keep being too afraid to say what i wanted out loud. caught in the vast tidal wave that is portland real estate, my landlord decided to sell our house. when i heard all i could do was laugh: what serendipity. i had been terrified to leave my home, the relative security of a job that i like okay & a life that overall feels pretty linear & easy. suddenly i had no choice & all i could feel was grateful.
when people ask me why i have been saying mostly just that i want to. it’s true, but it’s not exceptionally articulate. so:
i want to be braver- i live on daydreams that hardly ever come true. manifestation has always been a challenge for me. i want to set a precedent of completing the things that i dream of doing.
i want to remind myself how independent & capable & self reliant i can be. i want to be able to trust myself to bring enough food, to take the right route over a treacherous pass, to turn back if something doesn’t feel right, to rest when i need it.
i also want to learn how to ask for help when i need it.
i want to spend six months basking in nature. 700 miles of desert & then 200 miles of high sierra & that’s not even half of the trail. i want to see spring turn into summer turn into fall. i want to see a rattlesnake & not be scared.
i want to commit to writing either here or in my tiny moleskine regularly because i want to remember every hour of every day.