Ok, it’s been a week on the trail. 77.3 miles of PCT and easily another 8 miles of finding campgrounds, water spots, etc so about 85 miles (136 kilometers) in 7 days.
Although I’ve been summarizing my days on the trail, I feel like I’ve left out a lot of the emotions I’ve experienced and lessons I’ve learned just in this short period so, in honor of my first whole week on trail, I wanted to share them now. I may change my mind and perspective on some of these things later down the line but, as of today, these things are true for me:
1) Dirt is no longer something I even care about. I discovered this the other day when my chocolate protein bar broke off mid bite and flew into the sandy trail below. With no hesitation, I picked that shit up and brushed it off and put it back in my mouth, where it belonged. There might’ve been an ant on there too before I brushed it off. But I didn’t care.
At night, I’ll wipe my dirty ass legs down only because I want to keep my white silk liner as clean as possible for as long as possible (why do people make sleeping bag liners white??!? Make them brown or something so we can pretend they’re not dirty!).
My nails always have dirt underneath them. Nope. Still no shits given!
2) I’m not as in shape as I should be to start.
I knew this coming in though. Especially with the extra weight I gained from the IUD. But it didn’t hit me until I kept seeing people rushing past me, doing 18+ miles daily when I’ve been only keeping an 11 1/2 mile daily average since I started.
Which leads me to:
3) At first, I thought this was about getting to Canada. I didn’t realize that wasn’t enough for me until I was on my 3rd day and having the most miserable time ever.
Trying to tell myself “you have to still get to Canada!” When I’m having a tough time actually doesn’t motivate me at all. When I think about the adventures I can have while continuing on, it spurs me to action and helps me keep going.
It dawned on me that I don’t care how long I go for. I’m going for the adventures and the people. I like to think of myself as a storyteller of sorts, whether it be through my Instagram or here or in person. The stories are what feed my soul. Rushing towards the finish line isn’t my thing.
I feel like I’d miss so much if I rushed and when I was thinking with time constraints, I started resenting hiking. And why hike daily if I’m resenting the entire process????
Not to knock those hikers whose goal is to finish the PCT by a certain time – everyone has the right to their goals. That’s just not mine. I don’t have anything to prove to anybody except to myself. Getting a title of “thru hiker” is cool but does nothing for me spiritually.
I think I’m finally understanding the phrase that’s always tossed around in hiker circles “HYOH” (Hike Your Own Hike). This is MY hike. I have no known destination (as of yet)but I feel like I will know when I am done. Something will click. I have to believe that and trust in the process while keeping an open mind.
4) Modesty has gone out the window. I discovered this the other day when some day hikers came across me doing my lady business near the trail. I was wiping my lady parts with my “vajaynky” (hanky/bandana for my vajayjay) when they came upon me.
In civilization, I’d be horrified but, in the woods, I didn’t care. I just quickly pulled up my pants and said hi to them, as if nothing happened.
5) Cowboy camping is awesome. I can’t believe I hadn’t done it before. Waking up to a sky full of stars is amazing. Can’t even describe how epic some of the sun rises are too. Worth the cold winds you sometimes have to suffer through at night.
The other night, I woke up to some sounds. Thought it was possibly a field mouse trying to get at my food but when I blasted my headlamp at it, I just saw the white backside of a bunny hopping away. I noticed it was trying to eat the cork off the handles of my trekking poles. The noises used to freak me out but, cowboy camping, I’m adjusting quickly and am not as scared as I used to be.
Those are the things I could think of off the top of my head. I’m sure I’ll think of more later but now I’m going to finish my glass of wine at a tasting room in Julian, CA (I should be hydrating but I’ll do it later!! Hahah). And maybe eat another wood fire pizza, like I did yesterday.
Nope, I have absolutely no shame in admitting I ate that entire pizza! And it was delish! I think I’ve been lacking in my calorie intake since I’ve been starving the last couple days and it’s too early to call it the infamous “Hiker Hunger” people speak of.
3 thoughts on “1 Whole Week on the Trail!!”
Right on, Saina! I am also finding it difficult to hike my own hike with so many people around. Part of me wants to keep up with them, to compete with them, but that’s not what I’m out here for. I have a much better time when I go my own slow pace and to hell with everyone else. I’m also finding that walking really slowly allows a lot more looking around and enjoying the moment. I hope you finds what works for you and makes YOU happy!
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Yeah!! Exactly!!! I met someone who did 24 miles yesterday, has a bum ankle now but still going back on trail today. That’s so not my thing. I want my body to be alive and well at the end of this. An arbitrary boundary named “Canada” isn’t worth killing my body for. And the desert is so beautiful !!! (Minus the heat, when there’s no shade!!! Lololol). Hope I do catch up to you though at some point 🙂
Everything about this sounds so right. You want to feel alive at the end of this journey. Not exhausted and beat up. I’m loving keep up with your journey and sentiments along the way.
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