How have the last two months evaporated so quickly? There are only about 3 months separating me from my first steps on the PCT. I am feeling a LOT of feelings these days, maybe a bit more acutely. It’s heavy and simultaneously light.
I’m hyper-aware of the end of my current chapter. It’s very reminiscent to the end of college in the fact that I’ve been saying goodbye and planning for this trip for over 6 months… Seriously, this has been the longest goodbye. My PCT trip is the biggest lifestyle shift I have experienced in nearly 8 years, and is a much more dramatic change than going to college, leaving college or anything else I’ve experienced.
So, I often feel like my whole world is being turned upside down. My sense of place, space, and my normal responsibilities are floating away, leaving this gray-area, abstract, unknown sense of existence that is “trail life”. I’ve been reading and listening and watching, trying to piece together what my experience might be like, knowing that any anticipated reality will likely not happen– I’m no fortune teller. I welcome the unavoidable mishaps and challenges, and am constantly reminding myself that parts of this are going to be hard and scary. I’m working on my mental toughness and exercising those mental muscles in my “normal” life as much as possible.
And yes, I am SO excited. In SO many ways I cannot wait. The freedom, the time, the washing away of normal expectations and “supposed to’s.” All of these things are great and I’m truly looking forward to them– not to mention the creatures, mountains, and rivers. I’ve been extra reflective this New Year, trying to sort out long term goals and decide what I want to do with my life, and am definitely excited to have so much time to make a few life decisions.
I am feeling pretty prepared for the PCT (i.e. I have the majority of my gear, and I’ve started physically training). I still have to sort through my resupply strategy and decide how I’m going to eat on the trail. It seems easier to resupply on trail and “bounce” packages ahead every now and then (for example, prepare 3 resupply boxes in a town with a good grocery store and send those ahead; repeat after reaching the 3rd town, etc.). That being said, I am going to try to avoid eating too much junk food so I’ll likely have some dried veggies and other specialty things sent to me (thanks Mom and Dad).
But right now, today, I am feeling pressure to tie up loose ends, enjoy where I am in THIS moment, and simultaneously plan for life after the trail (*cough, cough…grad school*). I oscillate between the now, the next, and the next-next. My brain is full and I’m super busy (I’ve picked up an extra job to make some extra cash), but I know it’ll be worth it. I have taken a very “stress now, chill later” attitude towards these next few months. It’s time to start making obsessively detailed lists of to-dos and deadlines… I’d like to think that I’ve matured, but there are definitely residual bad habits I’m still working through, so I’ll inevitably procrastinate on a few things. April will be here so soon, whether I’m ready or not, so I’m simply going to do my best to be ready.
The Big To-Do’s
For the Trail
- Finalize gear list
- Decide on, and prepare resupply strategy
- Find time for at least 1 more training/practice trip
- Apply for hiking permits
For Real Life
- Sell my car (anyone interested?!)
- Move out of my current apartment
- Move my stuff into a storage unit
- Say goodbye to my Quad City life…woah
For After the Trail
- Grad School…