On April 11th, 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!
A Reading/Writing Challenge
At the beginning of each new year, I undertake a yearlong writing challenge. Last year, I reviewed films that had won Best Picture at the Oscars and the year before I wrote a line of poetry every single day. This year and in preparation for the Pacific Crest Trail, I am reading and writing about books that focus on a journey. Those books don’t necessarily have to be about hiking. Rather, they need to focus on documenting a person or group of people’s journey from one point to another. It is my hope that this intense focus will allow me to more deeply think about my reasons for hiking 2,650 miles. I also hope they shape the experience and how I document my trip from beginning to end.
For those interested, this is what I will be reading and writing about this year:
· “Nature/Walking” by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau
· “Tracks” by Robyn Davidson
· “Walking the Amazon” by Ed Stafford
· “Wild by Nature” by Sarah Marquis
· “Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart” by Carrot Quinn
· “A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf” by John Muir
· “Pacific Crest Trials” by Zach Davis and Carly Moree
· “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer
· “Wilderness Essays” by John Muir
· “Driving Home” by Jonathan Raban
· “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed”
· “Through Painted Deserts” by Donald Miller
· “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
I Bought a Backpack!
Right before the holidays, I visited the REI in Santa Monica and bought my backpack for the trip. After doing tons of research, trying several packs on, and speaking with other hikers, I decided on the Deuter 50-liter bag. It isn’t an ultra-light bag by any means, but it has great hip support, rests off of my back, and doesn’t move around. Now, my goal is to get it out in the wild and put it to the test. More than that though, purchasing this bag means a lot. Similar to my first gear purchase, a backpack means this dream of mine is becoming a reality.
Feeling Generous? Here is my Amazon PCT Wishlist…
Death Valley National Park
In early December, Brandon and I escaped Los Angeles. We wanted to take advantage of the cooler weather and attempt some desert hiking. We focused our attention on Death Valley National Park. Given its reputation, I didn’t really know what to expect, though those preconceived notions were on the lower side. I didn’t expect to find the bountiful beauty that I experienced in almost every area of the park. From the hill climbing into the valley to the descent inward, I was blown away by the vastness of it all. If you want to take a deeper dive into my thoughts on the hike, please click here.
Getting Stronger and Falling Apart
I have been devouring YouTube videos about hiking and recently ran across this quote from a seasoned thru-hiker. She said thru-hiking is all about “getting stronger while falling apart at the same time.” This reality hit me hard. As I put miles behind me, my legs and body will be getting stronger and stronger. Before I know it, 15, 20, 25, and maybe even 30-mile days will seem like nothing. The reality of the situation is that walking long distances every day carrying a heavy load is not natural. My muscles will ache. My bones will scream. My mind will debate bailing, and this reminds me of another quote from a seasoned thru-hiker, “Embrace the suck.”
With less than 425 days before my ideal launch date (which I am sure will change), I would be lying if I said I am not a mix of nerves and anxiety. I am nervous about the journey because I haven’t dared to attempt anything like this in my life. I am also anxious like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. This hike has become an all-consuming thought. I think, talk, and write about it daily. It is the light at the end of a tunnel and with each passing day that light becomes clearer and more real.
Be good to each other,
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