Submitted Date 02/17/2019

Hiking the Pacific Crest trail didn't purge my wanderlust like I hoped it would. There has been nothing more disruptive to living a conventional nine-to-five life for me than this affliction. The hunger, thirst, blistering days, or chill mornings of life on the trail allowed me to meet civilization with a more grateful heart than I've ever felt before. By the time I got off trail I thought I was ready to settle down. "I can do this. I can live a stable life."

My mind was bursting with romantic ideas of picnicking on mountains, dipping my toes in alpine lakes, and unzipping my vestibule to reveal the foggy valley of forest beneath me. All of these things happened and there's nothing wrong with fantasies. I haven't lost this. Now I know what it takes to earn these pleasures.

There isn't much out there to prepare you for this hike. I researched, read, watched videos, listened to presentations, but nothing prepared me for long distance hiking other than getting my trail runners in the dirt day after day.

I walked. I slept. I ate.

The world was my litter box and I packed out my toilet paper. I collected water and filtered it into bottles. Some days I forced food down. Some days the only water for 40 miles was in a muddy and reedy mosquito trough. Every inch of my body was covered in dry sweat and dirt. Another 26 miles and 3 mountain passes until I could sleep again. Long water carries meant 40+ pounds on my back. Out before sunrise and camp after sunset. Most mornings my feet felt as if they'd been crushed and I had to shout through the pain while I forced myself to walk again. Mosquito bites. Loud noises at night. Stories of cougars stalking other PCT hikers.

Towns were heaven. You can leave your pack at the hotel. Clean running water everywhere. Beds! Air conditioning. Abundant delicious food! Tables and chairs. You are at the top of the food chain again. Instant hot water. Ice.

I learned quickly that repeat thru hikers are usually marathon ultra runners, masochists, or a combination of both. I decided that after some serious pampering, I'll enjoy short backpacking trips, hikes, and glamping in the future.

My spontaneity and constant curiosity will keep me exploring for the rest of my life. I've come to terms with it. Now that my mind and body have recovered, I find myself dreaming again.

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  • Tomas Chough 1 year, 8 months ago

    Love this! I've been on many backpacking/hiking adventures myself and know exactly what you mean. Nothing better than the comfort of civilization, but once you live one of those wild experiences it's like you need to do it again. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    • Kristy P Podruchny 1 year, 8 months ago

      You're welcome! So happy you enjoyed it! Happy adventures to you.