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A big announcement...

Updated: Jan 4, 2019

So, I'll just come right out and say it: I'm thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (a.k.a. the PCT) from Mexico to Canada starting in April. That's right - I'm spending 5.5 months of 2019 walking 2,660 miles, one step at a time. I want to see it all - every mile of the trail that's open. I couldn't be more excited, scared, nervous, and thankful that I get to do this.

Watercolor Map by Susan Abbott, used with permission
Watercolor Map by Susan Abbott, used with permission

This has been a dream of mine for almost a year and a half now, and I decided I didn't want it to stay that way. I want it to actually happen. I had a come to Jesus moment where I began to question if this dream was too selfish, too much about me, and I came to a point of accepting that He's made me with a wild, adventurous heart, and that He can use me in the lives of people I meet on this journey. I dared to say it out loud, and then I told one person. I told my parents. I told people I trust. Then I started researching, planning, getting gear, and going on backpacking trips.

I am planning on hiking solo. But that doesn't necessarily mean that I'll be hiking alone. Last year, over 3,000 northbound thru-hiking permits were issued. With how popular the trail has gotten, there will be lots of other hikers around, especially at the beginning of the trail. Former PCT hikers I have talked to have said that you only camp alone if you're trying to. While I'm sure I will take some time for intentional solitude on the trail (#introvert), I know that I really want to enjoy the trail with the new friends I'll meet. Typically, thru-hikers find people hiking at a similar pace and style and form a "tramily" (or trail family) to travel with, especially for the portion of trail that goes through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

the Sierra Nevada. photo by Karen Wang

I know this is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but I also truly believe it will be worthwhile. I also wouldn't start something like this if I didn't think I could do it. I know I'm not the most athletic person, but man, I really love to hike, and being out in nature has always been a motivator for me to be active. Under the sweet girl a lot of people see in me, there's also a stubborn girl who doesn't give up when she decides to do something. I've heard so many thru hikers say that finishing the trail is really a mental game; after a few weeks, your legs will adjust to hiking 20 miles a day. You lose the extra pounds you may have started with. But the test of who makes it all the way depends more on your ability to stay positive and remember why you're hiking. I think I can do that. So here goes nothing.

Quick facts about the PCT from the website

  • Length: 2,660 Miles

  • Southern Terminus: Campo, CA (at the Mexican border)

  • Northern Terminus: Manning Provincial Park, British Columbia

  • Highest Point: Forester Pass, 13,153 ft (4,009 m)

  • Lowest Point: Cascade Locks, 140 ft (43 m)

  • Elevation Change: 420,880 ft (128,284 m)

  • Crosses 26 National Forests, 7 National Parks, 5 State Parks and 4 National Monuments

  • Follows the mountains, not the coast. Starting in the SoCal Desert, I will make my way north, passing through the Sierra Nevadas, Northern California, Oregon, and the Cascades of Washington.

  • Designated as one of the first National Scenic Trails in 1968, along with the Appalachian Trail

  • Average daily mileage I need to make to finish before the Washington snow: 16-20 miles per day

the PCT in Washington. photo by Karen Wang

I'm sure you guys have lots more questions for me - I will continue to post here with more detail addressing why and how I'm going to accomplish this. In the meantime, I'd appreciate your prayers as I prepare!

“Refuse to be average. Let your heart soar as high as it will.” - A.W. Tozer

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