This trek, being my first solo adventure, has posed some unique challenges. On the Appalachian Trail I had the help and support of my good friend Travis for all 2,181 miles. He helped me push through the pain of sore feet, kept my spirits high during endless days of rain and functioned as a relationship counselor, source of comedic relief and general friend. On the PCT, I will be responsible for being my own support crew for all 2,663 miles. As scary as that sounds, Travis proposed a solution for easing my anxieties. His idea came from a book he had recently read titled, "Appalachian Trails: A Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail" and essentially entailed answering a few questions: "Why do I want to hike the PCT?", "How am I going to be successful?", and How will I feel if I quit?".
Why do I want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail?
- I enjoy testing my physical and mental endurance
- To see a beautiful part of America in an intimate way
- I don't want to look back on my life and wish I would have had more adventures
- It is necessary to complete my ultimate goal of hiking the Triple Crown
- Hiking is fun and physical activity is cool too
- Nature is sublime and I feel at home in the quiet of the woods
- Why not?
- I never want to live vicariously through anyone else
How am I going to be successful?
- I will be open to change and ready for surprises
- I will pay close attention to my physical condition
- I will take every opportunity to experience something new, acquaint myself with interesting people and have fun on and off of the trail
- By setting realistic goals every day and breaking the enormity of over 2,600 miles and five months into small, attainable segments
- By reminding myself that a bad day on the trail is better than a good day at work
- By remembering that pain is temporary but success is eternal
How will I feel if I quit?
- Like a let down to those who have supported me
- Unsure if or when I will be able to hike again
- As if I wasted time and money