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Date: Sat, Apr 5th, 2014
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
"Why do you want to thru-hike? Why do you like backpacking? Why do you like hiking?
These questions always floor me. People can't understand why we like this stuff because it's all foreign to them. In their minds, we are walking into the unknown, to a place where a maniac will kill us, a bear will eat us, a rattlesnake will bite us, and where we will no doubt die of starvation, dehydration, heat stroke, and frostbite. All at the same time.
Non-trail people will never understand WHY we want to thru-hike. I think its because this idea is so far removed from everything we are taught as we're growing up: go to college, get a good job, get married, have kids, and then wait until you retire or die. You want to have fun? You can do that two weeks a year on your vacation. Don't be irresponsible and take six months off work to hike. Are you crazy?
You're stepping out, ignoring what society says you're supposed to do, and that scares them. Seriously, they will never understand us. All you can ask is that they recognize that this is something that is important to you and that you want their support. But, you have to do some work. You have to educate them about thru-hiking. Show them a map of the PCT. Direct them to your favorite trail journals and PCT documentaries. Give them some information, and then they can form an educated opinion on whether or not you're truly crazy.
I like hiking for the same reasons someone else likes golfing, or playing softball, or running, sewing, reading, skating, skiing, biking, whatever. I like hiking because I enjoy it. It gives me satisfaction. It makes me happy. It's fun. And I can't explain it to them any better than they can explain to me why they like to sew or skate or golf.
I can't fathom why anyone would like golfing. So why would I expect them to understand why I like thru-hiking?"
Opening excerpt from Yogi's Pacific Crest Trail Handbook. I couldn't have said it any better myself!
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