Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

Day 31: The First Month

Roadwalk 2 miles from Casa De Luna -> Mile 478.2 -> Mile 498.2

Today marks a full month on the Pacific Crest Trail. Since today’s 20 miles, while very enjoyable, were largely cruise-y, I figured I would reflect a little on my experience so far.

I have no regrets making the life changes to hike the PCT. I have a lot of time to think about what I want to do with my life when I’m done. And I have a lot of time to think about what “done” is.

The hiking has been amazing. With some small exceptions in injury and weather, every day has been enjoyable. Being out here feels natural. Thru hiking is scratching an itch I didn’t know I had.

But I also find myself a little lost at times. I really enjoy a lot of the people I’ve met and befriended. I’ve only encountered a few people I don’t like or can’t get along with. Some of the culture is unappealing, and hiking can be surprisingly competitive at times. People can be selfish and uncaring, and that hurts to see.

My experience at Casa De Luna was great, but it definitely immersed me in some of the hiking culture that is dissonant with my perspective on life. In a way it characterizes my hike so far: on one hand I feel this is where I want to be, on the other hand I feel out of place. And it’s hard to describe why. A lot of the areas where I feel inadequate or unconfident are frequently hit on out here. Just like in “the real world,” I am hard on myself on trail and feel I need to get better at things.

I’ve learned a lot about myself so far. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, or what questions I have, but I hope to find a few answers that will stick with me for life. When I can get out of my head and just hike, I’m having the time of my life. Because of this, I’m entertaining the idea of hauling ass through NorCal, Oregon, and Washington, and then linking up to the Appalachian Trail for a southbound attempt. It would be late in the season, but I would be in shape and it could be done by the end of December.

Just a thought. I’m having lots of thoughts out here, it’s nice. But my mind will probably change in a hot second.

Main Photo: A sign on the road leaving Green Valley, CA on June 9. Good food for thought.