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ItsMyTime - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2014

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Terri Stewart
City: Richland
State: WA Washington
Country: US
Begins: Apr 10, 2014
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Mar 9th, 2014

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 585
Journal Visits: 12,731
Guestbook Views: 627
Guestbook Entrys: 18

Pacific Crest Trail Map

Its Really Going to Happen

At dinner with the gang on Friday night, I was talking about final preparations for the thru-hike this year. These are friends who are not backpackers themselves, but have been wonderfully supportive of my dream to do this thing. After hearing about my gigantic food buy yesterday, one of them said, "It's really going to happen isn't it!" Yes, it is!! I have been working to make it happen for the last three years. A germ of an idea to go on the trail started in October 2010. Although I don't really remember exactly how I got the idea, I think it must have been a combination of seeing a documentary on people hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) and seeing a Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) guidebook in REI. Voile! the dream was born. I mentioned it to my daughter with excitement building in my voice as I first put the desire to do this hike into out-loud words. Once you put something like this dream into the universe, it takes on a life of its own. For my birthday that November (2010), my daughter sent me three books on the PCT: Cactus Eater (a personal account of hiking the PCT), the WA and OR Handbook, and the Data Book. After reading Cactus Eater, I knew I could do it. After reading the Data book and seeing the elevations as Forrester Pass, I was momentarily crushed, thinking there was no way I could do it. But dreams have a way of bouncing back from adversity. I started training in January 2011, I found a local hiking club in February 2011, and then a hiking partner in March 2011. In April 2011,I headed to the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off (ADZPCTKO - the longest acronym I have ever encountered even after 27 years of working with a government contractor). I went to the event to learn, meet people, and see ultra light backpacking equipment. I was inspired. I wanted to head out on the trail that minute. Of course, there were a few little problems. I didn't have any equipment and hadn't backpacked for more than 30 years and then for only two overnight trips. That's not exactly what one might call an experienced hiker ready to take on an extreme athletic event such as thru-hiking. Backpacking had been a dream from my early adulthood, put on hold while I raised a family, went to college, and had a career. In other words, life happened. I retired in June 2009 and gave myself a year to chill out, enjoy life, and decide what I really wanted to do in this new phase of living. Who'd have thought it would be backpacking the PCT? I couldn't be more excited or engaged. By May of 2011, I had my ultra light gear and was chomping at the bit to do my first backpacking trip on the WA section of the PCT. Wouldn't you know we got 104 inches of snow in the WA Cascades in April 2011. Dang. That put our start date into August and then limited our hiking options to below 4500 ft because neither my hiking partner or I had any experience with long distance backpacking, let alone backpacking and navigating in snow. Needless to say we didn't hike the whole WA section that year as we had hoped. Nor did we finish that section the next year or the next. Instead, we did as many miles as we could fit into our schedule over the 2011, 2012, and 2013 hiking seasons. Over that period of time, we have hiked between Cascade Locks and Snoqualmie Pass in WA, including the Goat Rock Wilderness before they did maintenance on the trail in 2013 (ah, an adventure best saved for another time). We have met a lot of great people on along the way, learned much from them, and thoroughly enjoyed being outdoors. My hiking partner prefers section hiking so will not be thru hiking with me. But she is a wonderful advocate and great supporter. As I told her today while we were out hiking a local trail, it is really going to happen. Thank you to her for be willing to do gear up and share my early trail experience with me. Its been an adventure already!

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Getting Started

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org

 

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