One Last Hurrah | Heading Out on the Pacific Crest Trail 2016

Planning for a thru-hike is no easy feat. For the past year, I have racked my brain with planning and preparing my gear, my body, and my mind for what the 4.5 months on the Pacific Crest Trail will bring. While there were many late nights packing resupply boxes of food, hours in front of the dim light of the computer screen researching the lightest, best quality gear, eating mass amounts of junk food to a) gain weight and b) get used to a thru-hiker’s diet, etc. I believe the hardest part of preparation has been gracefully handling the people around me. If you have planned a thru-hike or completed a thru-hike, perhaps one of the most challenging things is receiving questions and comments that insinuate you are somehow mentally ill by seeking such an endeavor. In all honesty, I feel that planning this trip has kept me alive with purpose and anticipation.

It’s always difficult to brush off comments and questions that make you feel doubtful about your decisions. I have dreamt of this day for quite some time and it feels extremely surreal now that the day I leave is today, April 11, 2016. For the past few days, I have woken up and thought about how close my departure is. My stomach turns sour. As I have thoroughly prepared for a great deal of this trip and meticulously tried to plan, I have realized that nothing can ever truly prepare you for what it feels like to abandon all that you’ve ever known.

With one last hurrah before I leave, I’d like to thank Explorer Gear for allowing me the opportunity to write for their website and share my thoughts and experiences with thru-hike planning. My last piece of advice is for anyone thinking of doing something big in their life, whether it’s deciding to go to school or finish school, get a new job, take a promotion, quit your job, move to a new town, or decide to thru-hike, there will always be voices that don’t understand. They may linger or aim to poison the confidence in your choices, but at the end of the day, the people who truly matter are going to support you through and through. Trust your instincts and go after what you want in life.

Much love and many adventures,

-Kelsey Sportsman