I’m Going to Thru Hike The Pacific Crest Trail! Wait, What?
Up until two weeks ago, I had no plans regarding thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. It had not crossed my mind in any way, shape or form. Perhaps one day, I always thought, but with no strong feelings about it either way, despite my love for backpacking. I knew I was looking for change in my life, but I wasn’t sure what form that would take. Perhaps a move to a new city, hitchhiking around the country, going on Grateful Dead tour … who knows, just something to shake up my too comfortable existence.
At some point as I read other class of 2016 peeps getting excited on various PCT FB groups, a seed was planted that it could be a possibility. A week ago I was 50% committed. Today I’m 110% in and excited for a new life adventure.
Along with the excitement involved with prepping for a thru hike, comes of lots of planning, preparation, life changes and also fear. Things like your possessions, work, school, car, etc. have to be adjusted, especially since many will not have income while hiking and they don’t want to pay rent for a home they aren’t using. For me, prepping for work is not an issue as I’m self employed, finances aren’t an issue, my skill level isn’t an issue, my gear is 100% dialed in and I’ve been looking to move. So why would I have fear and what shape would those fears take?
Fear #1: Injuries
On a recent backpacking trip I had a pre-existing injury (nerve pain in the ball of my foot) and new injuries (achilles tendon pain) come up. I worked through them and have been doing physical therapy, but I don’t know how these will go in the long run. It would suck to have to quit a thru-hike early due to injury, but the reality is that this can and does happen to some hikers EVERY year.
More importantly, if I have to pull out two weeks or two months in, I have nowhere to live and have to start over. That would REALLY FUCKING SUCK.
Fear #2: Losing My Home
I live a couple blocks from the beach. I
like love my apartment. I run on the beach every day, I have the best weather in the world and my super organized self loves how everything is perfectly organized in my home and every thing has it’s place. Apartments like mine are hard to find on the beach due to the high demand. So giving that up is hard. It’s so comfortable and I love it so much … but I’m too comfortable. Putting all your possessions and car into storage won’t be fun either. Moving sucks.
Fear #3: Cold Early Mornings
This is silly and I know it will go away eventually, but I hate waking up when it’s freezing out. I live in San Diego with the best weather in the world, so we don’t have winters that prep us for cold! I’ve camped in winter, have had many cold mornings on previous trips, but this is a bit of a mental block I will be excited to get over!
Fear #4: Fear of the Unknown
If I had to guess, I would say many first time thru-hikers have this fear. We don’t quite know what we’re getting into yet. We know it’s big, we know it could be REALLY big in terms of life experiences, but we will not be able to wrap our mind around it until we are in it. Doing it. Sore, tired, hungry and dirty in it.
This is actually a huge driver for me. I like giving up things that I’m comfortable with and taking risks, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy…. but hey, nobody said it was going to be easy … so that’s a good thing.