I’m sitting on an air mattress in the bachelor pad of a man I just met today. He’s called Girlscout, a trail angel who will drop my Dad, sister and I off at the trail head tomorrow morning.
I’m about to hike 2,659 miles! Honestly, the number is so staggering I can hardly fathom what it means, what those miles will hold. So, let’s zoom in a bit: tomorrow I will hike 20 miles beginning at the Mexican border. And after, I walk on until I am done. Until my soul or my heart or an aching body or the end of this trail in Canada beckon me on to another adventure.
I walk this trail for so many reasons. I walk it to live out Mark Twain’s sentiment that you only regret the things you don’t do, so I hike to live with no regrets. I walk to expand my vision for myself in this life, to experience living fully instead of working in the hopes that someday I might have just such an adventure when I have more time or money or courage.
I walk to rebuild my trust in myself after an unexpected heartbreak. I walk to experience Cheryl Strayed’s revelation during her own PCT hike: to know myself as safe in this world. I walk to feel power course through my body, knowing that I can carry a 35 pound pack for thousands of miles. I walk for all of the people I will meet and stories I will hear. I walk for laughter and freedom and wild places. I walk to know my father and sister in new ways and share new places with them.
Mostly, I walk for love; I walk for me. My trail name is Blaze.