I am Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail
Twenty-six hundred and sixty-three miles, The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from the fringe of Mexico up to Canada, by way of the American wilderness, vast yet obstructing. I plan to enter one end of this country and spit out the next. I will start in May and continue until I finish, likely September. It’s impossible to know how long this will take. I can only guess how long it will take. I am guessing 4 months, I’m probably wrong. Yes, I’m a little nervous, but mostly, I’m excited.
Why am I hiking the Pacific Crest Trail?
It starts with the way I desire to live my life. I read this somewhere and it has always stuck with me, “I used to be afraid of failing at the things that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” What a shame it would be if I lived my entire life stressing out & working hard for things that I don’t deeply care about. I desire to live a life where I am passionately chasing down everything I set out to do. Most of us were given some sort of script for our lives. It goes something like this: school, then more school, then job, then family, then retirement, then heaven, we’ve all heard it, and we’ve all complained about it
Eventually we fear getting off track from the set plan. We freak out that we didn’t get into the school we wanted, or the job we wanted or that we didn’t get married. Weirdly enough, when these things go off track, they usually work themselves out. As I look at my heroes, the people whom I most want my life to reflect, I see that they have one thing in common, they haven’t abided by that tight knit plan. Maybe that’s part of what makes them my heroes. I believe this to be a sort of practice. It’s like this awkward muscle that doesn’t work itself out naturally, and only when we do some weird movement does that muscle even get noticed. When we take risks, or improvise, it’s so incredibly hard and scary the first few times, but over time, it gets easier. There are moments in the past where I have experienced this. Those experiences were so rich. I’ve stepped out into the unknown, things went wrong, and I was able to figure them out. As I’ve grown older, it has become harder to get back to that space. The stakes are higher. The decisions carry more weight. The consequences last longer. Leaving for the PCT is my attempt at re-entering that space. It’s something that deeply matters to me. I will be “figuring it out”, once more. Not only will I be figuring out the mental & physical strength it takes to hike 2600 miles, but I’ll also have to figure out the insane logistics like packing or eating or finding water, or whatever.
The scariest part is the world after I hike the PCT. It’s wide open. I am leaving it wide open for a few reasons. To fully enjoy the trail in it’s simplicity and beauty, to leave behind the impeding commitments of life as well as my insane obsession with the matters of the future. My hope is that the lessons I learn from this experience would impact the way that I approach my future. The natural inclination would be to return to my comfort zone, to continue doing exactly what I’ve been doing. Coaxed by the city to function as a man behind a screen, solely to afford time as a man absent from a screen. If this journey fails to mold my future circumstance, I’ll be left with a blip on my radar. I’d much rather be left with a change of course, rather than a detour. That’s not how these experiences work. These experiences expose your blind spots. They make fools of your fears & remind us how to live.
There are a few details to figure out between now & when I leave. This is what most people ask about. Are you leaving your job? What are you going to do with your place, with your stuff? How are you going to get food? Are you doing it alone? How long will it take? Are you training for it? You can see the extended list here. Usually what I end up telling people is that there is a little bit of upfront planning to do, and at the end of the day, all I will be worried about is eating enough food, drinking enough water, and hiking enough miles. Things don’t get much more simple than that. Three of the most basic things in life, the first three things we learn to do when we are born. Eating, drinking, walking. I’m eager to reduce, to rid myself of the futile concerns I’ve nurtured for the past 24 years. That’s pretty much it. I’m walking across the country from South to North. I hope to learn a ton. I hope to share my experience with you. I hope you enjoy it. I'd be thankful for your thoughts, encouragement & prayers. My hope is for this journal is that you'd be encouraged to climb your own mountains in life. That I may be able to share my lessons with you, or at least be able to share a few inspiring stories with you over our next beer. Thanks for reading.
If you're wondering why I named this blog "under our feet" then read this.