1 year ago today, I started my journey north on the Pacific Crest Trail. Leading up to that moment I was anxiety, fear, doubt, questioning. But walking away from that monument I knew I was where I needed to be.
I was alone, hurrying to Vermillion Valley Resort to make the 4 pm ferry. I crossed Bear Creek (a.k.a. big-ass river) on a massive log, and then I charged into some fast-flowing creeks — quick, quick! I had to do 16 miles in 6 hours. Water was over my knees —and fast. And I was rushing.
I went broke today!
Part of me is calm, the other part of me is completely flipping out—like a chicken with its head cut off, running around, and clucking. I lie awake while the two duke it out.
Any thruhiker can attest to the greatness of the humble gummy worm [insert affiliate link]. My most loyal companion, the gummy, was with me through thick and thin, sweet and sour—celebrating my greatest efforts and comforting my most crippling defeats. Crying on a rock? Gummy. Made it to Canada? Gummy. Slowly succumbing to hypothermia? Gummy.
Reverse culture shock is the readjustment to one’s own culture after spending extensive time (>3-6 months) in a different culture. It is odd to think that returning from the PCT would be a case of reverse culture shock, but what I’m experiencing right now is quite similar to what I experienced returning home after 8 months China.
I’d like to take a moment to express my overwhelming gratitude for the – literally – hundreds of people who supported me in large and small ways on my PCT journey.
Weird to be off-trail and in civilization! I’m in Seattle and figuring out my next direction(s). After a week-long sleep-a-thon, my body seems to be (somewhat) recovering from the hike and I’m now carefully transitioning into some running.
After a ~125 mile roadwalk, we reached the border yesterday. It’s rather surreal—and definitely a spectrum of emotions. I’m proud of my accomplishments, sad/disappointed by how this ended, grateful for what I have experienced, scared (and excited!) for the future—a completely blank slate.
Snows are already knee to waist deep on much of the Washington PCT – on difficult/dangerous terrain with incoming storms and avalanche hazards. In short, it’s mountaineering, and beyond my risk tolerance with my current skills.
Today I finished the bits of the Oregon PCT that I am going to hike. 219 miles hiked, with two major hitches to skip past closed areas.
Only a small chunk, but they were hard-earned miles for sure: ice-cold rain, hail pellets, miles of knee-deep snow and below-freezing nights. Many a toe-warming break were necessary.