4/28/2004 was the first day of CD’s Pacific Crest Trail thru hike. April 28 is also my birthday, so we celebrate.
He kept a trail journal and has offered it to me. This is just the beginning.
Transition to life on the trail
I know very little about his time on the PCT. The first few weeks were a time of transition and learning. He went from hiking with a friend to hiking alone. He re-organized his pack and overhauled his food plan.
Prior to being on the trail, he imagined walking and walking just to see what was over the next hill. The people and relationships that make up the trail were not really part of the plan.
Walking over 2500 miles by yourself in order to better appreciate human relationships seems counter-intuitive. In 2020, it is also an interesting topic in light of physical distancing in the face of pandemic.
CD tells me that he experienced his first trail magic just a few days into his hike.
Trail Magic, Pacific Crest Trail Style
I was hiking through the hundred-plus degree desert sun and contemplating how much water I didn’t have. As I was reluctant to hike too far off trail for water and was pretty sure I could make it to the next source, I laid down on the side of a dirt road and put my feet up on an embankment trying to make my own shade.
Despite the heat, a family was settling in for a picnic up the road. Within a short time, the father came up and asked me where I was hiking. He was quite excited to learn that I was, indeed, on my way to becoming a PCT through-hiker He gave me water, fruit, and Gatorade. It was just the sign that I needed to let me know that I was on the right path.
With this, CD had his first glimpse of how much larger the thru hike was than just the trail alone.
He went on to Warner Springs, feeling lonely but not as thirsty as he may have otherwise been. Fellow hikers offered him a room to share. Being early in the trail, there were more questions than answers.
Self Reflection on the Pacific Crest Trail
How fast should I hike? When and for how long should I rest? How much should I interact with people? What was my larger goal? Was there supposed to be a larger goal?
It sounds like all of these questions were a collective work in progress during the next four months.
So, every April we celebrate CD’s PCT kick-off anniversary.
In 2020, lets walk around the block and see if we find some trail magic. I bet we will.
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