If you’re reading this you are probably one of my regular readers. Congratulations you are some of the few who get the inside scoop on what I’m up to and my future plans.
Well, my first month back to work this winter in Telluride was one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had. I was so mad I came back for my third season here with high hopes and was met with the complete opposite of what I was looking forward to. After waking up in a new place every day for months on end and flying by the seat of my pants all summer, I really needed some sort of stability and I was looking for it in a job routine. I almost quit and moved to a different place, or asked to be demoted to a different position after realizing how unprofessional and unorganized my company was in on-boarding a new manager …especially in the current job market and housing crisis? I though just maybe a third year employee at a place with an insanely high turnover rate might be at a minimum taken slightly more seriously than I was (seriously five years is significantly long to stay with this company). Maybe my expectations for work are too high but I’m pretty sure most people would have quit and done something else had they taken the risk to move across the country and been presented with the same job circumstances. For some reason or another (probably the optimism and support from a few amazing people in the company who went through the same phase) I decided to stick with it. Luckily it has been worth it. After the first month of everything that could possibly go wrong going wrong I feel so thankful I stuck it out. I now absolutely love my job! I’ve never had days at work go by faster than they do. For context, I manage a small rustic snack and food warming hut near the top of the ski resort I work for at 11,800 feet. I get to ski to and from work everyday and I feel so lucky for it!
Besides work this fall, I’ve been dealing with post trail depression that has never hit harder. Is this something that just gets worse every time you hike? I think a lot of it has to do with how hard of a time I was having at work, how much extensive time I had spent away from a routine this summer and also multiple close relationships changing all at the same time. Luckily things are a lot better than they were a month ago but oh boy that was rough. It feels completely invalidating to have these struggles when I am so unbelievably privileged to do what I do in the first place.
Now, the news you have all been waiting for! I AM HIKING THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL STARTING APRIL 23 2022. Yes I said it! Now I just have to not get injured between now and then. Yep, I’m more or less taking a break from skiing… as much. Luckily I burned myself out on it last winter and we are not having the best snow year so I don’t feel like I am missing out on much. I was supposed to hike the PCT in 2020 but I tore my ACL and meniscus in late January and spent an entire year recovering after losing all my leg muscles and not handling surgery very well. I’m very anxious about getting hurt again to say the least.
Getting a PCT permit this year wasn’t easy. With many people cancelling hikes the past two years, social media sensationalizing thru hiking, and the growing threat of wild fire season getting worse and worse, the demand was higher than ever. For the first round of permits in November, all the permits were gone in under an hour before many people including myself even got a chance to get into the application portal. I was so uneasy that I didn’t get my permit when 35 per day were released. Majority of other hikers I knew applying didn’t get a permit either. I thought it was crazy that I wasn’t the only one. For the second round of permits in January when 15 permits per day were released, I recruited a small army of people (mostly previous hikers) to help me. My mom was the lucky one who was able to secure my permit. Even after the second round I know a few people who were not able to get one so I am trying to help them get the multiple individual local permits required so they can still hike. It’s just a lot more work and stress than getting a single permit. I do think the PCT should be permitted however I do not think the current application system and way of regulating it make any sense. I will say It’s difficult to permit a 2,600 mile trail when some people will start the hike at 10 miles a day and others will start out at 20 miles a day.
While I am waiting to start my hike, I feel like I can finally start getting things in order. Physically I have started doing yoga to work on some smaller muscle groups, hopefully I will get an XC ski set up for other cardiovascular conditioning and maybe a gym membership for strength training the month before I leave. In the past I haven’t trained too much before a hike but I think it will be worth it for long term success. I would hate to not finish the last trail triple crown because of over use injury. After seeing how easy the CDT was (elevation wise) and getting 3k miles under my feet last summer, I have a feeling if I’m not careful I will over do it in the first month. I am trying to catch up to an old friend (Pop Rocks) from the Appalachian Trail before hitting the Sierras. Speaking of which, so far it seems like it might be a big snow year. I plan to Northbound the trail regardless. No more flip flops for me. With that in mind, I may try to get some winter backpacking and hiking experience in the next two months. I did some on the CDT but nothing I consider technical, just long exhausting slogs through wet snow that reflected the hot sun back on me all day long.
Besides physical preparation, I want to put together a more structured trail budget, plan some side trips, do some more research, possibly revamp my blog, make a gear list and invest in a few items ( a camera!!!??), condense all my old trail content into possibly a book? (Don’t get too excited this will be in the same journal form it is now just available in paperback at least to myself, I haven’t decided if I want to bother putting it on sale at all, after all you can read everything here for free!), and put together a guide of how to support me this summer. I often have a lot of people offering to support me right at the end of the trail which is AMAZING of course but it would be great to spread some of it out.
Thanks for reading and hopefully you will hear from me soon! 🙂