As I sit here writing this, my mind is being overtaken by exactly one million thoughts. I’m roughly a week out from being on the Pacific Crest Trail, yet I can’t believe it’s here already. This past weekend I packed up all of my belongings from my shared apartment in Boston, and shuttled them down to Connecticut where I grew up. Saying goodbye to everyone in Boston was bittersweet. My last day of work was surreal to say the least. I’m still feeling like all of this is temporary and I’ll be returning to my current life in a few weeks. I’m sure it will hit me when I’m waiting in the airport for my departure flight to San Diego… or maybe when I see all the other thru-hikers the night before the trail… or potentially the moment the car drives away leaving me at the Southern Terminus with no direction to go but North.
If you ever decide to embark on a thru-hike, let me tell you that the mental game begins from the day you commit. I knew my emotions would be a rollercoaster, but I don’t think I was completely aware how heightened they would be even before stepping on the trail. There was a solid week while still in Boston that I did not want to go. Let me be clear, after fully committing to this thru-hike (which was mainly when I purchased my one-way ticket to San Diego), I never once gave myself the option to back out. I expected to experience a range of emotions through this process, so I made sure my decisions moving forward were more based in logic rather than emotion. And here I am, so close to leaving and still finding it tougher than ever to remain focused.
However, the constant support from friends and family has continued to thrust me forward. I’m so thankful to be surrounded by amazing people – so if you’re reading this, [YOU ARE AMAZING, THANK YOU FOR BEING SO GREAT!] Such a wealth of support and encouragement certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. And already I’ve made awesome friends in the thru-hiking community, so witnessing their journey as well has been a helpful motivator. The featured image above was taken by my super inspiring friend, Steph, who started the trail last week and is absolutely loving Southern California (check out her instagram here!) Her photos below just blow me away, I cannot wait to experience the exact same views soon!
Although all of this is surreal, the realization that I’m stepping into the unknown is slowly starting to seep in. I dropped off my first mail drop today at the post office. Before I went inside, I actually just stood outside for a minute mentally noting what was happening. The woman holding the door for me surely saw my hesitation, and encouragingly yelled, “Go for it, just ship it!” I’m not entirely sure if she saw the bright orange tape that read PCT HIKER, or if she just happens to get excited about mailing things. As I sat in my car afterward, I could feel that a piece of me was already on its way to the trail!
Aside from my post office extravaganza, I’m also super excited to announce that I’m going to be a trail correspondent for a new podcast produced by The Trek, called Backpacker Radio! A few other thru-hikers and myself will be recording voice clips along the trail to reveal the highs and lows of thru-hiking. If you’re interested in getting a glimpse behind the scenes of the thru-hiking world and experiencing the trail through our eyes, I suggest you give it a listen! I’m not the biggest fan of hearing my own voice, but I’m ecstatic to be able to showcase my experience to current and aspiring thru-hikers, as well as intrigued listeners.
…Stay tuned for my pre-trail gear post!