The last 4½ weeks have been life changing. I hiked over 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Let me repeat that… I HIKED OVER 500 MILES! I have never done such a thing. I had three nights of backpacking under my belt last year when I decided to challenge myself. I hiked through Washington from the Oregon border to the Canadian border. This was absolutely the hardest physical challenge I’ve ever taken on.I averaged 20 miles a day. I took 1 day off after about a week as I had a scratched cornea and had to see and eye doctor in Yakima. I hiked about 115 miles with that and earned my trail name “Scratch” Midway through I took 3 days off for a family reunion at Lake Chelan. I was ready for it.
On this trail I saw some of the most breathtaking views any one person could take in. We truly have the most beautiful state in the union. The southern, mid, and northern Cascades all have their own personality. The North Cascades are renowned for being the most rugged and most spectacular. Some days I would hike five to seven miles all up. Then follow all down. Then back up again. All at inclines similar to Mt. Walker. There was no quitting, no stalling, no shortcuts…. just walking.
The unexpected surprise is the sense of community on the trail. Day hikers and weekend backpackers say hello. Thru Hikers stop and have a conversation. They ask where you started, where you’re finishing, mileage, base pack weight, how the trails are, what’s your trail name, etc. It could be a quick two minute exchange or a 15-minute conversation. It was so refreshing to see people of all ages really look at each other and engage in a conversation. No checking email or texting at the same time.
I hope everyone has an opportunity to find their ‘journey’. One that challenges you physically, focuses you mentally, and opens you up spiritually. It lends a whole new perspective to life.
The mountains are calling….