“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.”
Since I started thru-hiking in 2015 I’ve hiked 3,750 miles!
It makes me curious, how many miles have I hiked in my life?!
In 1990 I went on my first backpacking trip. My family hiked a 75 mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail from Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass. Due to my young age of two I spent most of the time on my mothers back. So I guess that doesn’t really count… but two years later, just after my fourth birthday, I walked my first long hike. Another one of my Dad’s ideas of a summer vacation, a 14 day, 125 mile hike from Rainy Pass to Stevens Pass. According to my mom I hiked the whole time because everyone’s packs were too heavy to carry me (I’m pretty sure my dads pack was something like 70 pounds)! My dad says I hiked during the first week or so but later on he remembers putting me on his shoulders and neck for awhile, which I enjoyed (according to him; I don’t remember). But seriously, who takes a four year old on a 125mile backpacking trip?! My dad apparently… What four year old will walk it?! Me I guess… I don’t remember much but I do remember my forrest green REI backpack with a rainbow patch and my tiny leather boots with red laces. I remember staying right behind my dad, eyes locked on the backs of his boots. The only way I could keep up was to never fall even an inch behind. I remember carrying one dinner in my little pack and how it made me feel trusted and important. Most of all I remember the feeling of victory and wildness at the finish. I felt like I had a secret super power; something unique. I was proud and a little confused at what just happened.
Now days it takes a lot, lot more than 14 days to feel that way again; more like 140 days.
I’ve been hiking since I was four and whether I like it or not I was raised as a hiker. I’ve spent a long time fighting hiking but after the last two short thru hikes, I want something bigger. One month or two months is too short. Just when I get into the grove, it’s over. I don’t feel the wildness, in such a short time. I want something bigger and so does Ram. So we’re flirting with the idea of hiking the Continental Divide Trail in 2018. The CDT scares the shit out of me so I’ve always automatically dismissed it. But, last night something in me shifted and I opened up to the idea. It’s long, it’s rugged, it’s intimidating and terrifying…. so maybe it’s exactly what I want to do!
Then there is money… (we’re dirt poor) and immigration but, I’ll leave that for my next post.