Our PCT Couple have some personal news they have decided to share with OJz. As many hikers can relate, this is a tough decision to make but at times necessary. With a decision like this comes great advice for our future PCT hikers, plus their hikes are not over and they want you to join them!
Josh and I have some news, we have left the trail. It was a tough choice but the right one for us. This is not the end of our dream to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail, just the beginning of a new approach. For those who are curious as to why we came to this choice let me take this opportunity to explain…
Before Josh and I got off trail for our friends wedding we had some rough times. The trail was beautiful but there was a mental struggle. Josh opened up to me about his feelings towards thru hiking, I was shocked at first. He said that he hated the idea of it and I was confused. As time went on we tried to alter our hiking schedule to try and help with the attitude towards the trail. Some days we got down to hiking just 9 miles a day, for anyone who knows about the PCT that just isn’t getting the job done.
There is a certain vibe on the trail that is almost like a competition to hike further and faster. Frankly there isn’t much adventure in that and that is why we started this journey in the first place. With three weeks of slowed pace and adapting our plan we left the trail for the wedding with hopes of returning refreshed and ready to go.
Returning to the trail I was excited to see what was in store for us, but as we walked I could tell that not much had changed for Josh. He wasn’t having fun anymore and this made my fun level go down as well. We talked again and he was very open with me. The walking was getting to him, physically he could handle it but he missed exploring in nature and felt a disconnect with it on the trail. He lived for when we took breaks together, camped in the evening and had town stops. He wanted to be with me all day but when hiking that just isn’t realistic as we have very different paces. He told me that he wasn’t sure if he would find the passion he once had for thru hiking but he was willing to buckle down and bust out the rest of the trail because I still had the dream of getting it all done in one chunk.
That is when I started to do some deep inner reflection. In relationships there must be balance. I realized rather quickly that I had to do some critical thinking. If he was willing to spend 10 hours a day not having fun so I could thru hike the PCT what was I willing to do? It didn’t take long for me to come up with a plan but tears formed as I came to the decision. When we got to a break I proposed the idea to Josh.
I told him my master plan. Let’s stop. If we aren’t having the time of our lives what are we doing out here? How much of the idea of thru hiking is ego based for me? I put my ego aside and made a tough choice. I proposed that we get off trail but not put the dream of finishing the trail aside.
So we did just that, we got off the trail. It was the hardest choice I have made in my life but it was the right thing for us. The trail is not over, we have a lot of life left! The plan is to finish Washington and Oregon over the next year and a half together. We also still have 500 miles left in California, which we might hike together or I might solo hike which sounds like an awesome challenge to me.
We are staying extremely positive about our choice. Sure we are disappointed that we didn’t finish what we set out to do this summer. But we are also extremely proud of what we did. Josh and I didn’t tell too many people before we left but the PCT was only our fourth backpacking trip ever! We lived outside for 3 months and hiked a little over 1200 miles. My dreams of thru hiking a long distance trail also aren’t over. Everyone said we were doing this at the best time because we wouldn’t have many opportunities in our lives to do it again. I’d be kidding myself if I thought this was true because most of the people we saw on the trail were in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s!
We learned so much on this journey but it isn’t over yet. In addition to this we want to extend an invitation. If anyone wants to do some backpacking, even if you have no experience, let us know. We want to share the rest of our journey with the wonderful people in our lives. Let us know how long you want to go out for and we can make a plan, we even have two extra sets of gear!
Thank you for those who helped us out along the way, we couldn’t have made it as far as we did without you.
A few things we learned that we would like to share…
1. Processed foods make your feel like crap, unless you’re hiking 20 plus miles a day!
2. Being active everyday makes a huge difference in one’s quality of life.
3. People are generally good and willing to help out a kind person in need.
4. Hiker boxes are amazing and should exist in real life. (Boxes where hikers but food/gear that they don’t need anymore so another hiker can take it)
5. People need to help other people realize the proper ways to treat trails, like pick up micro trash, proper human waster/toilet paper disposal and the effects of blazing new trails because you’re to lazy to go down the existing switchbacks.
6. Karma is real, especially on the trail! Go out of your way every once in awhile to help someone, usually the universe will repay you in someway plus you’ll feel better.
7. When backpacking rethink where you camp. Existing camp spots aren’t always Leave No Trace, review the LNT guidelines before you head out.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even from strangers. Like I said earlier people are generally nice, more often than not someone will help you if you’re kind and positive.
9. Have fun! If you’re not having fun rethink what you’re doing both in life and on the trail!
We have enjoyed sharing this journey with you and are excited to share more as we work to complete this goal of hiking the entire PCT. OJz can’t wait to hear what’s in store for these two! Many more hikes to come, if you’re interested in their adventure or want to join them on their next adventure let us know!
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