In 2015, I set up a blog to share my experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) north from Mexico to Canada. On the About Me page I said you could figure out who I was by hiking along with me through my posts. Turns out that I might have been right because all the normal stuff you’d see in an About Me section is irrelevant on the trail. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, what your education is, who you have for family or what the name is on your legal ID. None of that is who you are. Oh the people I met! All ages, all quirky, all tattered and tough, hungry but happy, somber or exuberant, all a beautiful, stinky, long distance walking tribe of hiker trash.
I’ve been hiking in the woods since I could toddle. I’ve been wandering around the world in a small way since I was a teenager. I went to Alaska from my home state of California when I was 21 as a way of making enough money to travel. After a few years I met the most wonderful man and suddenly I wanted a home and children. That’s turned out well, but the restlessness has never abandoned me. We’re still married, the kids are grown, and somehow Dan loves me still and supports my idiosyncrasies.
Several years ago, I stood on the trail crest to Mt Whitney, behind me the 9 mile climb from the Eastern Sierra, just 2 more miles up the ridge line to get to the summit of Mt Whitney. All of a sudden, there is a view to the west and the country is granite and lakes, country so beautiful I could barely breathe. Oh wait, that was the thin air at 13,000’. Catching my breath while gazing, I noticed a trail, switchbacking down by lakes and then off into the distant west. “Where does that go?” I asked my companions. “That’s the John Muir Trail, it goes 200 miles to Yosemite Valley.”
The next year, my friend Tarcey and I hiked the JMT from Yosemite Valley to the top of Mt Whitney and then down to Whitney Portal. We both wanted to turn around and hike back to Yosemite rather than return home. It was the longest hike either of us had ever done and it was an immense accomplishment. The following year I hiked the JMT both directions, solo, it was wonderful and the trail looks different going the opposite direction. I kept telling myself, and others, “I don’t want to want to hike the PCT.” But I did. I really did. No why. Or maybe the answer to why is that I just like hiking and camping and being in the wilderness.
I started the PCT from the Mexican border April 12 with plans to reach the Canadian border mid-September. By the time I got to the finish, I was ready to be done, but 3 days back in the world with all the food I could eat and beer I could drink, I missed the trail and fell into the post trail blues.
Lucky me though, that I have the means and health to head back out. For reasons described in the post Post Trail Blues, I am going to hike the PCT SOBO this year.