And so it begins…

On a training hike aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA

On a training hike aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA

April 11, 2014

Tomorrow, a journey…a dream…will begin.  I’ve been hoping and planning for this day for over a decade.  I had hoped to do this when I retired from the military in 2008, but life got in the way, as it often does.  Things have changed since then, and with the help of my lovely wife, I am going to make my dream a reality…to attempt a hike of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in its entirety. 

My emotions are running the gambit with one day to go before heading to Campo, CA.  Have I done enough to prepare?  Am I missing something?  Do I have all the right gear?  From all I’ve read, no one is ever totally ready to begin the hike.  Always second-guessing gear, resupply boxes, etc.  At some point, you have to set a date and just step off.  That date is tomorrow…well, actually, it’s the day after tomorrow.  We head to the trail tomorrow, spend the night, and then go to the marker at the start of the PCT, face north, where I’ll begin the journey.

A few facts about the PCT:  It goes from the border of Mexico all the way into Canada.  If I complete the trail, I will have walked the length of California, Oregon, and Washington.  The PCT is one of the Triple Crown Trails (Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and PCT).  It is 2,650 miles in total length, give or take a mile.  There are sections of the trail which are already closed due to fires which I hope to figure a way around without having to ride.  My favorite interesting fact is more people have climbed to the top of Mt.Everest than have hiked the PCT in its entirety.  

Beginning tomorrow, I will shed all the trappings of a comfortable life that I’ve been used to for the past 54 years…a car, a comfortable bed, a kitchen full of food, being near people I love and care about, the convenience of stores a few minutes away, etc.  My life will narrow down to what I can carry on my back and the trail ahead of me…trying not to run out of water in Southern California, making sure I have enough food between resupply points, poison oak, rattlesnakes, bears, etc.  But even more important is why I’m doing it.  The trail winds around some of the most scenic mountain ranges in the United States. It skirts Mounts Hood, Whitney, Rainier, etc. as well as a number of national parks to include Sequoia and Yosemite.  I look forward to experiencing the grandeur and beauty of nature.  Although I’m sure there will be times when the trail will be grueling, I have no doubt the rewards of this venture will be well worth the effort.

Before I start, I want to thank everyone who has given me support and encouragement over the past few months as I prepared and shared my experiences.  If a true measure of a person is their friends and family, I consider myself one of the luckiest men on the planet.  I would also like to thank two people specifically:  Sean Gobin, who is the founder of Warrior Hike who is sponsoring me with gear and support on this trip, and of course to my wonderful wife, Kristi, who has dreamed this with me since I first thought of it many years ago.  She has encouraged me every step of the way.  There were times I thought she wanted this for me as much as I did.  I love you, Sweetheart! 

So, fellow hikers, whether you’re on the trail now or are experiencing it via this blog, I invite you to join me on this journey.  Let’s see what the trail has in store for us!

Buttercup