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City: Santa Barbara
Begins: Apr 23, 2011
Date: Tue, Sep 28th, 2010
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
About a week ago I was talking to a friend of mine, who suddenly got very animated when we started talking about The Impending PCT Attempt. When I hushed them, citing that it was months away, I soberly realized that those many months are quickly dwindling. Six months. Just SIX months! I've got some work to do.
While I've been toying with the idea of hiking the PCT for many years, it was about two years ago that I really started to seriously consider doing the entire trail in one season. Up until that point, it always seemed like too large an undertaking. Originally, it was just a faraway thought -- it was something "other" people did, retired or rich or crazy or committed to living on nothing people; then my mom gave me a book that had been written by a woman who had section hiked the entire trail over the years ("One Hundred Mile Summers" by Eleanor Guilford), and I thought how impossible it would be to spend my entire years' worth of vacation time every summer to hike for the next thirty years, though inspiring. But the idea sat with me. I thought of my grandmother, Lotte, who hiked with a group of women long into her sixties despite her losing fight with breast cancer; I finally bought my own camping gear (as opposed to using my family's, now eight hours drive away in northern California) and dragged my then-boyfriend out into the rain on a trip up Big Sur (with no campfires for the fire danger, ironically); we talked about the realities of hiking, of being uncomfortable, of expectations; I read John Muir's "Mountains of California" while sitting next to an empty upper Maggie Lakes on a perfect Labor Day weekend; I got a second job to pay off my lingering debts from college, decided upon a reasonable time line for paying it down and then saving some up; I became unreasonably emotional when a hiker I'd never met blogged about dropping off the trail, or finishing at the border; I talked and talked and talked about it, garnered more support, and started to believe I could really do it; I celebrated my 29th birthday at ADZPCTKO surrounded by the hikers whose blogs I've been religiously reading for the past few summers; I read and re-read reviews, bought more gear, seam-sealed my tent, and I picked 2011 as the year.
So there. Game on.
But now, just six months away, it's difficult to not have doubts. Can I really save enough money? Can I really, really, really quit my stable job after five years? What about my apartment? Can I really honestly hike 2650 miles in one season? Yikes.
To honor Lotte, actualize the dreams that Patrick helped me believe in, and inspired by John Muir's legacy.
I'm excited. 2011.
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General blog at http://elisabitch.com