Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Just So You Know

A little info if you didn't know:
     The Pacific Crest Trail is one of the big three, stretching from Campo, CA to Manning Park, BC. The other two trails that make up the big three are the CDT (Continental Divide Trail), and the AT (Appalachian Trail). Coming from the east, the AT never truly captured me, even though I've always kept non-fiction and guidebooks about the trail on my bookshelf, however the PCT and CDT did.
     I guess I should start out telling you why I would ever want to walk over 2600 miles. Why I would want to trek through desert, stumble up over mountains and sludge through rain and snow. I have a ton of people, who, when I tell them what I'm wanting to do, reply with, "Oh! I just watched Wild." I smile and nod and back away slowly. For me, it didn't begin with Cheryl Strayed's Wild, it began with the John Muir Trail and the High Sierras.
     When I heard about the JMT, I had just arrived in Tallahassee, Florida to finish up school. That day, I went into a few bookstores around town and asked all of the salespeople where they kept their backpacking guides, all to no avail. At the time it made me extremely mad that nowhere in that town could I go and pick up a book about walking. Walking with a backpack! What most of the kids in the town did anyway to get to school. I couldn't believe it wasn't even a thought to have a couple travel books in a place that spews out broke 20-somethings every semester, most of whom have no godforsaken idea what they're wanting to do.
Anyways, by the end of my stay in Florida, my dad had gotten me latched to the idea of biking the Great Divide trail, which we ended up doing in the fall of 2015. At the end of that trip, I set my mind to hiking not only the JMT, but the whole PCT the next summer, that is, if I could make enough money to do so.
     I texted my best friend, Melissa, while on the Great Divide how I was actually starting to think about hiking the PCT the next summer and her response was one that didn't surprise me whatsoever. She threw out dates and places we might be able to stay along the way and whenever I would text her from the trail, she'd admit her yearning to sleep on a hard ground and be in a constant state of filth, aware of being unkempt and miserable, but be in a spotless state of happiness nonetheless. That's what the trail is. It's maddening and addictive. It requires you to submit yourself to the trail and nothing else and truly, that's what started me out on this, was my mirrored yearning to be dirty and pitiful, finding others in the same plight.