It feels like our summer plans have been up in the air for a long time. A year ago at this time, we did not expect to even be in the US right now, but here we are….and since we are here, and summer is coming, we want to hike.
The Past Year
Over the past nine months, our lives seem to have become the poster child for the idea of “plans can change.” This started with us leaving our Peace Corps service in Moldova – just 3 months after being in Moldova – due to health issues, and continued over the winter when we had to return to the US from Mexico six weeks earlier than we planned in order to manage some business commitments. We have tried to take each incident in stride and make the most of the situation. Knowing how easily plans can change, we have decided not to attach a completion expectation to our summer hiking. We just want to go out on the trail and enjoy each day that we are able to hike.
Trying to decide on our summer hiking plans has been a very drawn out process compared to previous years. In previous years, our plans have been tied at least in some part to other people or other plans. That has made it much easier for us to decide on a trail for the hiking season. This year is different, because we have no major time commitments which dictate our hiking window, and we do not have plans to hike together with any of our hiking friends (of course, we do hope to make new friends on the trail). So, we end up with complete freedom to decide on what we will hike and when we will hike. This has led us to have perhaps too many options. Even once we thought we had decided on our final plan, we rethought things and came up with a new favorite plan. Since we have only awesome options to choose from, we were never too concerned with our lack of an early concrete plan.
Thinking about the PCT
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) was barely on our radar when we first became interested in long distance hiking. Living just a few miles away from the Appalachian Trail, that was the big trail we were familiar with. After hiking the AT in 2011, I (Beardoh) hiked the PCT in 2012 with some friends. It was my introduction to west coast hiking, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The nicely graded trails, switchbacks, high elevation, big views, mountain lakes, even the desert – all were wonderful.
So why hike it again? Well, simply put…so SweetPea and I can hike it together. It is a wonderful trail in so many ways, and I knew I’d want to hike it again. Even while on the trail, I could understand why folks like Billy Goat, Scott Williams, Condor, and others find themselves on the PCT so many summers.
What is different about this hike in particular? Our attitude. We are not necessarily aiming to thru hike the entire trail. On every other long distance hiking trip, ‘completing’ the trail has been the goal. Terminus to Terminus. This time, we are trying to be a bit less accomplishment driven. This is a bit harder for me than it is for SweetPea. I don’t know why, especially having hiked the PCT already in 2012, but it just is. Regardless, I’d prefer to be less accomplishment driven on this hike (and in general), and just enjoy each day in the wilderness for what that day is. So, with that in mind, we are preparing our food shipments and lives around the idea of hiking the whole trail this summer, but letting the possibility of only hiking part of the trail be an option of choice, should we decide to take a break mid summer and head over to another trail or adventure.
We will be heading out to the trail at the beginning of May! Woohoo!
About the Pacific Crest Trail:
- Begins at the California/Mexico border, continues through California, Oregon and ends at the Washington/Canada border
- Length of the trail is 2,650 miles
- Passes through 25 National Forests and 7 National Parks
- Total elevation gain over the course of the trail is 489,418 feet
- Highest point on trail is Forrester Pass at 13,153
- Follows the highest portions of the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges
Learn more about the trail at the Pacific Crest Trail Association’s website.