Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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The Countdown To Campo – The Trek

by Staff

With only 43 days to go the trail already buzzing with the steps of early thru-hikers, I figured it’s time to get this blogging thing rolling. Hello, world! My name is Sid, short for Siddhant. I’m one of the 4,600ish intrepid souls hoping to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and traverse the varied landscapes from Mexico to Canada this year.

The Motivation

Why am I doing this? Why am I choosing to leave the comfort of my home, my job, and my friends, and choosing to spend 5 months walking over 2650 miles through the wilderness?

“I don’t really know”. That is the best answer I’ve been able to come up with every time someone has asked me this question. At the surface level, I like the outdoors, I enjoy endurance sports, and I relish pushing my body to its physical and mental limits. Also, the idea of carrying almost everything I need for five months on my back is very appealing.

But if I dig deeper, there are a few other factors that nudged me to commit to this trip of a lifetime.

After a broken ankle in early 2023 derailed all my trail running and rock-climbing plans for the year, I was in search of the next big adventure. This might sound melodramatic, but when you’re confined to a boot and crutches for four weeks, taking your first steps can literally bring tears to your eyes (speaking from experience, perhaps).

So, the silver lining of this mishap was my newfound appreciation for walking. Combine that with my love for the West Coast, its forests, and mountains, and it didn’t take long for me to set my sights on the PCT. A single conversation with a friend who completed the trail in 2019 was enough to convince me that this was the right choice, thanks to some good old confirmation bias.

Beyond the broken ankle saga, there’s the usual stuff—burnout from work, heartache from a recent breakup, feeling stagnant in life and craving change, existential dread, etc. I figured there’s no better remedy than venturing into the woods for five months (pfft I’m not walking away from my problems, you are).

So while there might not be one single reason for embarking on this journey, perhaps deep down, I do understand my ‘why’.

The Build-Up

On November 14, 2023, when I logged into the permit portal at my designated time of 11:59:24 AM, all dates but April 15 were available. I was fortunate to secure my top choice date of April 17. The most challenging part was over!

Subsequently, everything seemed to fall into place. I informed my workplace about my upcoming trip, and they graciously offered me an unpaid sabbatical. I also found someone to take over my lease while I’m away. My friends and family, albeit a bit concerned, were very supportive of my decision.

Having already ventured deep into the gear rabbit hole and ordered numerous items even before securing my permit—manifestation, you know—my gear situation is mostly resolved. There’s still some fine-tuning to do. More gear talk in an upcoming post but here’s my Lighterpack.

One concern, though, is pre-trail injuries. They’re a significant nuisance and the primary reason for my sleepless nights recently (a tad dramatic, I know). I’m diligently following all rehab and prehab routines and day by day, my confidence grows. Everything will be fine.

With merely a month and a half remaining, I sense there’s still a plethora of things to do. I need to file my 2023 taxes, secure health insurance, manage some financial matters, and plan some of my resupply boxes. I also need to reassure my friends and family that thru-hiking is safe and clarify that my trip to India (where I’m currently writing this) isn’t a farewell tour. Plus, I need to figure out how to squeeze my besties into my backpack.

There’s a lot I could express about my fears and nerves. Trust me, there’s plenty brewing in that department – my Google and Reddit search histories are very telling. But I’ll save those thoughts for a later post.

Where Am I Going?

The plan is straightforward—purchase a one-way ticket to San Diego, arrive at the Southern Terminus on April 17, and start my journey home. Well, close to home. I don’t live in Manning Park; I live in Vancouver. But Canada is home, so, close enough. And, not gonna lie, telling people that I’m going to walk home from Mexico is quite fun.

So yes, I am gearing up to trek the 2,655.2 miles from Campo to Manning Park. And I might even have an adventure or two along the way.

Follow my journey as I strive to share not only the highlights but also the toughest moments (of which I’m sure there will be many). And who knows, regardless of how this unfolds, maybe I’ll inspire a few of you to embark on your own adventure.

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