On May 1st, 2020, I will begin hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. This ongoing series is an attempt to document the entire journey from beginning to end.
I am walking 2,650 miles to End Polio with Rotary International. Support my journey!
Hundreds, if not thousands of hikers, set out to conquer the Pacific Crest Trail on an annual basis. As I contemplate this journey, I can’t help but think about how other hikers will treat us. Will we be welcomed into the community? Will we experience the kindness, friendship, and support that makes the Pacific Crest Trail famous or will our experience be different? Beyond the condition of the trail and our bodies, nothing is more important to me than building relationships on this journey that will last long after the hike is completed.
I, perhaps wrongly so, assume the journey for me will be much different than Elizabeth’s hike. We aren’t the same person. We aren’t hiking at the same experience level. We aren’t the same gender. We will have different needs. Those who we interact with will respond to those differences. Will that response be a positive or negative experience? For Elizabeth’s sake and the sake of women everywhere, I hope everyone treats her with kindness, respect, patience, and understanding. This includes me.
Feeling Generous? Here is my Amazon PCT Wishlist…
Diversity on the Trail
Is the Pacific Crest Trail going to be nothing, but a sea of white males or are we going to encounter diversity on the trail? I am not looking for a homogenous experience. I want to be surrounded by people of different ethnicities, genders, identities, socio-economic classes, and backgrounds. To experience something other than that, would be a true disappointment. It would lead me to ask some serious questions about how we make hiking and experiencing the great outdoors a more diverse experience.
#2 in the Woods
There is no tactful way to approach this next topic, but it has been on my mind. Much of the Pacific Crest Trail stretches through vast and remote spaces without access to town centers and facilities. This means digging a hole and taking care of business. This isn’t something I have ever done, and it makes me really nervous. I have questions about privacy, being sick to your stomach, burying/carrying out toilet paper, lookouts… Please, someone help!
I know Sequoia National Park isn’t one of the parks you hike through on the Pacific Crest Trail. Still, it felt like the perfect place to begin my training. Over four hours, we gained 1,900 feet in elevation and were treated to one of the real gems of the US National Parks system. As I moved forward, I am planning on visiting more of California’s parks in preparation for the PCT. Then, in May of next year, I am planning on dedicating the first weekend of every month to hiking and camping. When the trail calls in May of 2020, I want to be ready.
Be good to each other,
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