In 2013 I was living in New York City working as a ghostwriter for a DJ, a truck driver, a music teacher, a BBQ cook, a technical support clerk at a law firm, and a composer, when I decided that I wanted to walk the length of California. The cultural and physical vastness of the metropolis was for me a strong metaphor for the vastness of the world, and after spending 2 years learning to navigate this world within a world, I was hungry for a transition to a larger scale.
I first heard of the Pacific Crest Trail 11 years ago when I was day-hiking with my girlfriend at the time, Michelle, near Castle Crags in Northern California. We were drinking from a beautiful spring that was apparently just off the PCT, when a tan, bearded gentleman wearing a t-shirt, running shorts and what looked like a daypack came striding down the trail. He was patient and gracious as we bothered him with questions, telling us that he had hiked from his home in Oregon, and was planning on going as far as he could until he had to go back to work. “How far is that?” I asked. “Mexico, maybe.” “There’s a trail that goes from Oregon to Mexico?” “Actually, it goes from Canada to Mexico”. I was amazed and kept asking him questions, although it was clear I needed to let the guy go because he had many miles to cover. As Michelle and I hiked back to the car, I felt like we were going in the wrong direction. I didn’t want to go back to the car. I wanted to head off into the mountains, with only a broad itinerary, like that lean hiker from Oregon.
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