After two weeks and 266 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, this trail continues to surprise me everyday. It is a completely different ball game from the Appalachian Trail. I think I have already fallen even more madly in love with this trail than I did last year, if that’s possible! It’s such a different challenge and it’s incredibly rewarding. I have no doubt that as long as I stay healthy I will finish this whole trail- I can’t wait to see what else it has in store for us. We’ve already seen long waterless stretches, snow, rain, hail, winds of 50+ mph, amazing sunsets, cold desert nights, the kindness of strangers and trail angels, and more incredible views than I can count.
It was easy to fall back into the routine of a thru hiker. Your day starts with packing all your possessions that you need for six months into your pack. Everything has a specific place and it becomes second nature. Pop tarts are my breakfast of choice out here, along with lots of water to get hydrated for the day. Next on the agenda is walking- uphill, downhill, through sand, over rocks, across streams, and along mountains. I’ve been hiking with two hiking partners and we’ve gotten into a really good routine. We all thru hiked the AT last year so we have a similar mentality and we know what works and what doesn’t. A hiking partner can turn a bad day into a great one and I’ve been grateful to have such great company out here. We generally hike for two to three hours before taking a snack break and then hike for another couple hours before our lunch break. Ideally we find some good shade where we can hang out for a few hours and avoid hiking in the heat of the day. The afternoon follows the routine of the morning- a few hours of hiking broken up by snack breaks. It’s important to get in the habit of taking off your shoes a few times a day and letting your feet air out. It can help a lot with drying out blisters and forming callouses. We’ve been in the habit of just hiking as long and far as we feel like and stopping for the night when we find a good spot. Sometimes that’s not until 7:30 and sometimes it’s at 5:00. One night we hadn’t done very many miles but we found a great campsite with an amazing view of the sunset and we couldn’t pass it up. It’s pretty freeing to just hike all day and not really know exactly where you’re going but to know that you can set up your home whenever you’re ready.
It’s so nice too to be around people without the normal distractions of life.
When we set up camp at 5:00 pm we have nothing but each other to entertain ourselves. We sometimes get pretty goofy at the end of a long day and have a great time laughing, singing, playing pine cone baseball, and just being silly. When was the last time you went two whole weeks without turning on the tv? I haven’t missed it one bit. I can honestly say I love every aspect about this life, even when I haven’t showered in days and I smell terrible and my feet are blistered and sore and I haven’t been able to contact my family in days. There is something completely magical about this trail life and everyday I remind myself how lucky I am to be out here and to have the support of so many people. Thank you to everyone who has helped me in my journey so far and thank you for following along on my hike with me!