May 20, 2015
HWY 18-Big Bear Lake (266.0) to 1st Crossing of Holcomb Creek (285.7)
19.7 PCT miles today
298.8 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 2,272 ft, – 2,576 ft
If there is one thing that us thru-hikers have plenty of, it is time. We hike for anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day, and for most of that time our minds are turned on, creeping down dark alleys and parading through golden pathways of thought. It is a brave thing to take on such a long-distance trail, because eventually, whether you like it or not, your mind will find time to have every thought you’ve never had time for before.
The first couple weeks out on trail, I was so distracted by all of the new input that is the PCT, I hardly had time to even remember the every-day things that I usually make my priority. Birthdays, wedding planning, finances…it was all trumped by the immediate needs of the trail – how my feet felt, where we’d camp, where we’d find water, etc.. But just recently, as our navigation skills have become a bit more natural and our aches and pains have diminished enough to be almost ignored, I’ve found my mind wandering along in directions that surprise and excite me.
As I spend less time calculating miles, speed, and time, I spend more time thinking about the future and how I can make my passions and skills best align in a career. I think about the realities of someday being a parent, or less dauntingly, a pet owner. I remember people, hobbies, stories, and places that became long-forgotten throughout the busy decade of my 20’s. But mostly I just think a lot about who I want to be in my 30’s and how, together, Pickles and I can live our best lives possible.
As you can see, it is no easy job being a thru-hiker. We put in our 9 to 5 today. We hiked 20 miles, filtered and carried enough water to stay plenty hydrated, sought out a level, protected campsite, and most importantly, spent hours upon hours doing the hard and honest task of thinking. I look forward to finishing this trail with more clarity than I had when we began, and if nothing else, I’ll know I’ve given every aspect of my life a more-than-fair amount of contemplation and consideration.