I’m going to Hike the PCT – In 2021

I’d be lying if I said this has nothing to do with Gilmore Girls. But Gilmore Girls is not the reason I decided to start planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). It was a journey to get here, but now that I’ve arrived, I can’t stop thinking about it.

I'm going to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail - In 2021
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Remember when I said I was going through a Wild phase (and again here). And then I mentioned it again in a YouTube video? That was me, trying desperately not to announce that I’d decided to hike the PCT.

I didn’t want to announce it, and I didn’t want to talk about it, because often when I talk about something too much, it doesn’t happen. But I am also so excited, and nervous, and obsessed with the trail that it’s all I want to talk about.

But let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

The Movie that Shall Not be Named

When the movie Wild came out, I had zero interest in watching it. It looked like another Reese Witherspoon drama, only this time it takes place in the woods. I could tell what it was about from the first commercial. A woman loses her mother, walks the PCT, finds herself, gets a new outlook on life, and the credits roll.

I didn’t need to see it.

Then, recently in Vancouver, I decided to watch it. I was excited that it was on Netflix (Canada Netflix has a way bigger movie selection than the US version), and I was breaking my diet in a depressed state, eating pizza and potato chips. Why not watch an uplifting movie that involved someone else doing something physical and life-altering?

But wait, let’s take a step back even further.

The Book that Shall Not be Named

After watching Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life, I picked up a copy of the book Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. Lorelai is reading it all through the Summer episode, which ends with this amazing dialogue between her and Luke:

I'm going to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail - In 2021
I made it a text conversation, because it was a lot to type. Also it’s fun to think of these two having this conversation via text.

After watching the series, and going through my usual Gilmore Girls obsession bouts, I picked up the book and gave it a read. And by ‘gave it a read’ I mean, I read the first 100 pages. I’ll admit, I didn’t love it.

I’m a bit of a book snob, and if I don’t like the way a story is written, I most likely won’t stick with it.

Needless to say I never finished the book.

Then there was Boho Berry

This year, Kara at Boho Berry started a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT). I told you about my FOMOtivation, and this particular journey was not making me feel anything FOMO-related.

I have lived along the AT for my whole life, and although I wanted to hike it when I was younger, I had zero interest in hiking it when I was watching her videos.

But watching her trail hike, and watching Wild, made me want something. I started doing some online searching.

I found this post: Why You’ll Probably Die Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and I was hooked. And not because I want to die hiking the trail, but Mac, the author of Halfway Anywhere is one of the best writers I’ve encountered online in a long time. He’s so engaging, and I literally spent the entire day reading his posts on the PCT.

Why I want to Hike the PCT

Most folks who are hard core hikers, or folks who have actually hiked the PCT, hate Wild. They hate the book, they hate the movie, and they hate that it has inspired a group of folks to hike the trail in hopes of finding some life-altering experience that will forever change them.

They also hate the author of Wild because she only hiked a small portion of the trail. But at the end of the day, none of that matters. What matters is that I was inspired by the movie. And I don’t care who knows it.

I want to hike the trail, because it sounds and looks amazing. And because it scares me, and because I don’t honestly know if I can do it.

Why 2021?

In June of 2021, I will be turning 40. I am not really doing so well with that concept. But the idea of turning 40 on the trail (most PCT hikes start between April and May) is so extremely exciting to me.

When I made the decision to do this hike, the idea of turning 40 completely changed. In fact, a lot of things changed. My way of traveling changed, my screen time changed, my checking in with myself changed. Something was awoken in me. And it felt really really good. Heck, it still feels good.

When I was in Colorado last month, I stopped by the CDT (Continental Divide Trail).

I'm going to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail - In 2021
I'm going to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail - In 2021
I'm going to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail - In 2021

And when I went to Seattle the following week I went out to the PCT.

I'm going to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail - In 2021
I'm going to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail - In 2021

And that sealed the deal. I am hiking the PCT in 2021. I took a rock from the CDT and a pine cone from the PCT, and I fully intend on returning them both during my subsequent thru-hikes of each.

Have you ever seen or read Wild? Have you ever had the bug to thru-hike? Do you think I’m crazy?

I'm going to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail - In 2021
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    • Mother of 3
    • May 7, 2019

    I have read the book and watched the movie (and read a few book about hiking the Appalachian trail (on my side of the US)… have friends that have hiked the whole AP trail… go on day hikes several times a week…. and I have zero desire to hike either trail! Ha! I am not good with carrying supplies while I hike, I do not enjoy anything remotely campy and am a total fair weather hiker. LOL. But I am happy for you and wish you all the luck in achieving your goal.

    1. Reply

      Lol, my mom always used to say its just as important to know what you don’t want to do, as it is to know what you do! I’ve never backpacked before, so I’m going to do a few weekend trips as soon as the weather is warmer, because I don’t actually know if I like it! Hopefully I do!

  1. Reply

    You are SUCH a badass!!!!!

    First, how in the hell did you make that graphic that shows moving text. Brilliant. Bravo!

    Second, I tried to read Wild and hated it too. I feel like that makes you and I not the outcasts but rather the ones in on the joke, if you get my drift.

    Third, it doesn’t matter your motivation, you are doing something outside your comfort zone and that is amazing. It takes a lot for me to go to the grocery store in the rain. You are my hero.

    Fourth, you sitting in a hotel room watching Wild on Netflix eating pizza and potato chips makes me love you more than I did before and makes me feel much closer to you as well.

    1. Reply

      I Googled ‘create text fake messages’ or something like that and then had to sort through some pretty shady stuff! It was a journey. I was thinking that I’d love to have a site that was just text conversations taken from Gilmore Girls. Or like a one a day thing. Man, if only I had endless time and resources, and knew how to program. I’d make apps galore!

      And if there was anyone I’d want to be in on the joke with, it’s you! I honestly feel cooler just for being in on the Wild joke.

      Oh and watching Netflix eating too much junk food is one of the best perks of traveling alone! #noshame

  2. Reply

    Amazing story! Will be fun to follow your journey and see you meet your goals.
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    1. Reply

      Thank you! I am more excited about it every day. Though I’ve been watching hikers this year, and it seems like they got a ton of snow! I’m a little worried about that aspect of it, but I’ve heard it changes from year to year. We’ll see!

    • Josh
    • July 17, 2019

    Super awesome! I am trying to prepare to do the PCT next year! I will keep an eye out as I have been reading and trying to learn everything possible to ensure I am ready to rip through the Sierras!!

    1. Reply

      That’s awesome! I’ve heard about those crazy Sierras! I’m hoping it won’t be as crazy in 2021, as it is this year!

    • Emm
    • August 8, 2019

    I didn’t know about the PCT until I saw Wild. I like that directors work and I love Cheryl Strayed’s writing but neither of those things made me want to hike it. That came after living in Washington and experiencing the mountains and getting into hiking. Then I started reading the PCT blogs and looking at the photos. I’ll be on the trail in 2021 (I also haven’t announced yet to friends or family) Hope to see you out there. Fingers crossed for a low snow year…

    1. Reply

      That’s amazing! And I’m with you on the snow front! I’ve been hearing horror stories all season! Do you think you’ll be documenting your hike?

    • Cricketpct
    • August 16, 2019

    I am an old wanna be. I’ll turn the official retirement age on the 2021 pct. (NOBO). I hiked 1 mile of the trail in 1976 during a high altitude training operation in the navy. Promised myself I would hike the whole thing some day. I don’t agree with the masses as I think Wild was a great book. I really look forward to talking about this and a thousand other things while group camping somewhere between Campo and Canada.

    1. Reply

      That’s awesome! I love that you’re going to fulfill that promise! Are you starting to prep?

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