Starting the PCT with nothing but a dream. I had to gather my own equipment and did some research, mostly using halfwayanywhere’s website to get ideas on what I need and how much I’m willing to spend. It turns out, everyone has different taste and bodies so picking your own gear is crucial! I started off with an Osprey pack, a lot of people love them, but it started to cut into my right hip, making every step rather uncomfortable to painful, so in Idyllwild I changed to an ULA Circuit which I’ve been using ever since!
That’s the big thing I’ve learned; you will know what gear works and doesn’t work for you as you go. Don’t give it too much stressful thought, just go with your gut and see how things play out. You can always change up the gear to something that works for you, rather than against you.
If you are worried about not having the “right gear”, there is a guy named Steve-o who has hiked over 10,000 miles on the PCT who has hiked in “all the wrong” gear; old heavy packs, converse high tops (thousands of miles hiked in converse), and sometimes he decides to carry railroad spikes and other things to weigh him down. He still hikes 20 miles a day, easy. It’s less about gear and more about mindset.
The pain is real. Hiking hurts. You are moving constantly and carrying around 30+ pounds on the lighter side, you are going to feel it. Your body takes the toll but your spirit reaps the rewards of a hard journey through incredible places. It’s all a trade off, so you have to prepare yourself for dealing with a lot of aching, possible blisters, and bruises from tripping on trail. How do you plan on keeping a smile on your face while you deal with all of that and more?
It’s taken me such a long time to not be so angry and upset. Hiking has helped me more than any therapy ever has (did around 10 years of off and on therapy myself) and I’ll admit, I wasn’t always happy on trail. I was dealing with a lot of difficulties I’ve gone through in my life while I hiked, so my mindset was focused on sorting through all the intensity in my feelings. I literally “walked it out” and now I am not as angry. Now I know that the pain means I am alive and there is more to come. So I focus on the amazing little things going on around me; the connections between everything.
I am trying, even now, to keep focusing on how everything is connected and how that’s beautiful. The constant rain reminds me that our greenery is healthy, our rivers won’t dry, and the sun will soon be back out to show the beauty of the drizzle. As spring begins, the urge to leave and go on another adventure is strong within me. So I invest on myself here; keeping a good job, investing on my space, and self care.
I just went on an amazing hike with Abby and we found this incredible waterfall. We agreed that this was our version of church. At peace and feeling grounded. Everything was doing it’s own thing, as we were able to think clearly here. The vibes were perfect, you could say.
Setting out for the PCT for the first time, my goal was to heal and process everything I’d gone through and was pondering as I walked North. The idea was to high five both borders, no real mileage goal, for the experience was the true reward to me. I ended up writing over 100 poems and am now looking forward to the upcoming release of the book of poetry Abby and I have been working on for roughly two years!
Keep checking in for more updates and happy trails!