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I’m underway! Yesterday I left home and flew to San Diego via San Francisco. I hopped on a city bus to the Gaslamp Hostel, right in the middle of white linen restaurants and trendy bars. I felt like such a country bumpkin, gawking at the tall buildings and fancy diners while I walked around in running shorts and a baseball cap. It’s been so long since I was in a big city and even longer since I enjoyed its metropolitan luxuries. I take my unease as a good sign: the slower rural life and the quiet of the trail beckon to me even as the upbeat pop music blares from the hostel’s speakers.
(This is a cool hostel though. Highly recommend it. Close to the action. Close to many amenities and mass transit lines.)
It took a lot of prep and anxiety to get here. My interest in the PCT started about 10 years ago when my friend Molly hiked it. Still in college, I had only been on one short overnight backpack and considered myself a day hiker. In those ten years, I’ve hiked a lot of miles and ticked off some classic backpacks: the Timberline Trail, the Teton Crest Trail, the Beaten Path, the Cirque of the Towers, the Wonderland Trail, and lots of miles all over the West, mostly solo too.
I first committed to the PCT in 2020, but called off the hike before stepping on trail because of Covid. Two years later, I’ve pushed through burn out at work, and I’m ready again. I’ve spent the last six months dehydrating meals and planning. The last month has been an utter whirlwind. My seasonal job as a professional ski patroller ended on April 19. I moved out of my apartment into my boyfriend’s house on the 22nd. I put a lot of my things in storage to sort through when I get off trail. In the remaining 11 days, I unpacked, packed, dehydrated more, assembled dehydrated meals, and did so many administrative tasks to square my life away for six months.
There’s things people don’t think of: the three hours I spent going back and forth with my car insurance agency and different state DMVs to get a lower storage rate for my truck, cancelling health insurance and buying travel insurance, backing up phones, updating firmware on GPS units, mailing trekking poles & tent stakes etc to the border a week ahead of time, losing some gear in the move and ordering replacements, etc.
Everytime someone asked if I was excited for the trail, I had to be truthful and answer that I was a giant stressball of preparing. Casey, my boyfriend, was a champ through it all. I have to say, I wasn’t a very enjoyable person to be around, in my own little world of prep.
But all the prep—or what I could get done—has fallen into place. 100+ meals and lots of coordination.
Today is gathering those last minute items (like Benadryl, a gas canister for my stove), taking a shuttle to the border, and camping for the night with a bunch of other hikers.
Tomorrow my hike officially begins!