I can’t quite believe it either. Mentally, my head is still swirling with ideas for projects for my park in Montana. (Guess I can't say "my park" anymore.) The school field trip programs, interpretive talks, additions to the trail map I redid, and oh no it’s Wednesday my day to clean the bathrooms. Funny how when we work, there really isn’t any such thing as days off. The brain is still working on solutions to work problems. There are people that turn it off, but I’ve never figured that out. Once I get into something, I’m all in.
Which may be the best explanation for why I’m heading back to the PCT. As much as I’ve loved finding work I enjoy so much, I still can’t get the PCT out of my mind. I long to see this trail to the end. To see the places that inspired this hike in the first place- growing up with vacations with my parents to Crater Lake, Stehekin, Sisters. And even if I don’t finish, again, just giving myself the chance to try will be enough.
Will the experience of hiking the PCT be as joyful as it was in 2014, when it was the best thing I’d ever done, happiest I’d ever been? Certainly I was in a different place back then, burnt out. Am I a different person now, after two years of AmeriCorps? How will it feel to do something so seemingly self-centered after finding such meaning in engaging in national service? As AmeriCorps members, we'd joke about getting things done "for America!" even if it was really mundane like stocking toilet paper or picking up trash. But that's what if felt like.
|Leading a Wildflower Walk... for America!|
|Teaching a school field trip program... for America!|
As crucial as the mental aspects are, I know you all really just want to know about planning the food and gear, right? Well, there’s not much to say….
In 2014, I spent six month preparing. It was my first long distance hike. All that planning paid off. Plus it was fun and I learned a lot. And wrote a lot.
This time around, 6 days getting ready seems like enough. Food prep took 3 days for 7 resupply boxes. Picked up backpacking staples at Trader Joe’s on my drive through Salt Lake City and Nature’s Oasis in Durango, Colorado.
|Ingredients for stoveless dinners|
|Home-grown veggies from Still Water's garden|
|Dehydrating rice and curry veggies. A stoveless, just add cold water favorite.|
The No New Gear budget is now officially over with three purchases (that I’ve had on my list for a year and a half!)- a new raincoat, the InReach (to replace my SPOT), and a custom-made hammock overcover— hopefully will keep me a bit drier. No time for much testing. The PCT will be enough of a test.
Finally, shoes. In 2014, I got a stress fracture in my foot at mile 840 in the High Sierra. Have I figured out how to prevent another stress fracture? Do I know what shoes will give me the best chance at making it? Do I have plan for my feet?
Ummm… I still have a few days…