…you feel most like your true self. That´s my definition at least.
Whether it`s a location, or a person that defines your idea of ‘home’, we all know the feeling. That warm, fuzzy relaxation…the ability to breathe freely and just…let go.
I think that it`s possible to have several homes. Those special places where you can just be yourself and that you yearn for when you`re not there.
For me, one of those places stretches from the Mexican to the Canadian borders with the US. Along ~2650miles this ribbon of dirt passes through some of the most beautiful wilderness you can imagine and offers the inclined individual to truly get away from everything. What is this magical place, you ask?
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, or PCT
It usually takes around 5 months to walk the length of the trail through all three states – Washington, Oregon and California, with over half the trail miles located within one single state…California.
The most popular way to attempt a thru-hike (hiking the entire trail end to end in one hiking season) is starting at the southern terminus near Campo, CA and walking north, eventually reaching the northern terminus at the Canadian border near Manning Park, Canada.
Over the course of this adventure the thru-hiker will encounter unbelievably beautiful scenery, wildlife (non-scary and scary), trail magic, and get a chance to test one`s physical ability to the breaking point. Walking an average of 20+ miles a day continuously for about 5 months takes stamina, resilience and a lot of determination.
Why am I telling you all this?
Well….cause I`m gonna do it 😀 …and yes, i know I`m crazy. But bear with me.
In 2014 I spent a few weeks and about 270miles on the PCT in California and Oregon and ever since then the trail has never left me. Almost no day goes by when I don`t long for the feeling of being out there again. Crunching miles, seeing how far I can push myself, thinking all the thoughts until I feel like there`s nothing left to think, eating as much as I want and still maintaining an awesome physique and generally just the fact that the only person I am accountable to is me.
I have to do it. Nobody else is going to walk the miles for me. And it´s hard…really fucking hard. But so worth it. And since I know what I`m getting into, I might be a little more prepared for the challenges ahead than some.
Specifics will have to wait until I can narrow down a definite start date, but my permit will hopefully come through soon. What`s a permit and why do I need it? Well, since the trail is becoming more and more popular every year, especially since Cheryl Strayed`s novel and subsequent movie ‘Wild’ came out, access for long-distance hikers is now regulated.
Since most people hike south to north (northbound –> NOBO) the PCTA (Paacific Crest Trail Association) has had to regulate the number of aspiring thru-hikers. The California desert is fragile….and hundreds of people trampling along the trail and doing what people do (read: pooping) has a huge impact on the environment along the trail. So permits are limited to 50 people starting on the same day. Which, when you think about it, is still A LOT. I mean….they all have to camp somewhere right? And especially in the first few weeks, before the herd thins out and the field stretches due to hiking speed and daily mileage, the impact really is HUGE. Permits in April and early May (the ideal and most popular start times) are gone within a matter of days (if not hours) after they become available.
And since the possibility of doing the trail in 2018 only recently presented itself, I didn`t get a NOBO permit. So whatcha gonna do? Well….I`ll just go in the opposite direction, meaning starting out at the northern terminus and walking southbound (SOBO).
Starting time will depend on the snow melt in Washington, but since SOBOing is much less common than the traditional NOBO, the start date for my permit is a little more flexible. I am aiming for June 20, but if there`s still too much snow, I`ll just hang out for a while to let it melt….
As of now, there`s still too much uncertainty to go into trip details. But over the coming weeks and months I will drag you along my preparations, planning and training hikes.
I hope you`ll enjoy following me on this epic adventure (and beyond?). And I am always looking forward to hearing from you, so leave me a comment 🙂
Keeping you posted…