I had an epiphany two days ago. I am going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail this year. This is the summer.
This is how it fits together: I had just started a part-time job as a clerical assistant at my Dad’s work. So now I can make some money for my hike. I wouldn’t let myself hike and not help pay for it, even though I know my parents would. It just in a sense wouldn’t be my own hike, not in the same way. I was already judged on the John Muir Trail for not having a job, for being young, for having light gear – even though I work hard at my college classes and at home, and paid for a good portion of my gear myself. Of course, now I need to figure out how to quit tactfully in 3 month’s time…
I am taking two classes this spring at the community college, both of which end early (one is compressed into a half-semester, and the other is self-paced, at least so I’ve heard). So, I am faced with the opportunity of being able to start earlier, and not late in the season due to the semester ending May 12th. When else do I see myself being on this schedule while in college? Nada.
The other thing that was holding me back was me transfering from community college to a university this fall. You know what? Sacrifices must be made. There will never be a perfect time for a thru-hike. If I get off early, I can still take classes at either TMCC or UNR. Plus, I’ve already been doing community college classes for 3 years. Time for a break before another long stretch for completing my major.
So, why am I hiking the PCT in general? Other than having always wanted to do it, other than growing up backpacking on the PCT around Tahoe, here is a list of reasons:
- Being outside in nature makes me ridiculously happy.
- It will give me direction and purpose.
- I love walking.
- I do not see myself having this opportunity again during or immediately after college without making even bigger sacrifices.
- If I don’t do it now, I’m afraid that I never will.
- Trail family.
- I want to gain a sense of independence.
- I want to be unafraid about traveling without a plan.
- I don’t get acne when I’m backpacking.
- I have better things to do than take showers.
- I need a break from the stress of school.
- An unexamined life is not worth living: I want to examine my beliefs about our modern culture’s consumerism, ethicality and freneticism, and also my expectations of what is necessary to survive.
- Restore my faith in humanity.
- I will be in very good shape.
- I can eat as much (junk? junk!) food as I want.
- Get away from computer screens (like this one).
- There are two things that I have dreamed of doing since I was a little kid, that are a part of who I am. Deep Springs College and the PCT. Aaand Deep Springs College is still not co-ed. Forget you, Deep Springs. I am going to do the PCT in revenge…
- A vacation from hearing about Donald Trump. I got to miss the Republican and Democratic national conventions last year on the JMT and it was an absolute privelege. Also, I have a vision of my kids asking me to help them on an assignment about what happened in the summer of 2017 and me saying, “I have no clue, hahahaha. I was walking from Mexico to Canada. Everything else was melting in the world and WWIII started and I can honestly say it was the best year of my life.”
- I am concerned about the overcrowding, but I deserve this just as much as any of the other hikers.
- I will murder with
a knifemy long-handled titanium spoon anyone who tries to talk to me about Wild, Cheryl Strayed, or Reese Witherspoon.
- The last one wasn’t a reason I’m hiking the PCT.