March 2018 signified a complete life transition from what I previously was used to. Expectations were wildly imagined. Fears, excitement, and the unknown drove into my brain non-stop. The constant wondering made the days tick slower and slower, however, the inevitable day came. I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
I was alone, thinking am I really doing something this crazy? It was a mixture of euphoria and skepticism as I took my first steps on March 19th. Little did I know what the 2,659 miles held. It was a first for me. Backpacking was something I only saw on documentaries and common websites. It never occurred to me I would actually be doing something this out of the box. At the border of California and Mexico, I trekked alone, however, that lasted only a day. I found myself being acquainted with other hikers fairly quickly, having the same ideas and mindset about the journey we just started. Days mixed in with one another while weeks felt like months. Relationships came and went as did towns and miles.
By May, we had reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains, freshly covered in snow. It was stated that the next section was a dangerous, daring cross that would need our full attention, and whatever expertise we had on hiking through snow wouldn’t be a guarantee of being safe. The nights became colder and more irritable the higher we went in elevation. Our full energy was exhausted every day, and with little rest, what could you do when town was still a few days away?
By this time, I mentally shut down, uninterested in anything hiking or camping. I skipped sections deciding what the next step was for us and for me. I couldn’t picture the end like I did so often in the Southern section of California. This was another beast all in itself. Somehow, I managed to withstand all the obstacles and found myself at Lake Tahoe. My parents were flying to see me, and that helped tremendously in my pursuit to keep going for the time being. The end of our weekend trip I had a new sense of encouragement and excitement. I was ready for what the trail had to offer, however going only three days to the next town, the last being the toughest, I had a decision to make. I set out on this journey to see what I was capable of, to see what lessons I would learn about myself. No one could take that away from me, from what I accomplished. So, with a very reluctant, back and forth decision, I chose to stop.
It wasn’t a weakness, and it won’t be the end of my journey on that trail either. I was content with it then, and I’m content with it now. However, I have been itching to go back and finish that beautiful, challenging trail from California all the way into Canada. For now, though, I’ll be dreaming of campfires and views that were so impactful on me that I became emotional. I’ll be dreaming of the lakes I haven’t yet seen, and of the first night back where the stars will be out and only you to comprehend it all.