I find myself back in the real world, surrounded by the familiar sights of traffic lights, the wail of emergency sirens, and the seemingly boundless marvels within grocery stores. The contrast between the simplicity of the trail and the complexity of everyday life is overwhelming.
Although I didn’t complete the entire thru-hike of the trail as initially planned, that’s perfectly fine. This journey became a profound discovery of myself, leading me to relinquish my tendencies to pursue perfectionism, seek approval from others, and worry about what everyone thinks of me. On the trail, I experienced a genuine sense of freedom – not freedom from life’s challenges, but freedom to embrace my authentic self unapologetically. Life, much like a coin, has its dualities, and I’ve learned to embrace both sides. While I occasionally reflect on how the trail might have unfolded with a more solitary hike, my choice to share the experience with fellow hikers enriched my journey in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
The End is a Beginning to Something
After leaving the trail, the thought of an immediate return didn’t cross my mind. I felt a profound sense of satisfaction that I wanted to preserve without being burdened by intrusive thoughts about not completing the trail or questioning why I didn’t approach it differently or stick to a specific plan. The 13-hour drive from Central Oregon to Las Vegas, Nevada, turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable, with each mile passing in a blur— a stark contrast to the slow pace of my trail trek across vast terrains. While the physical journey concluded, the emotional impact of the trail lifestyle lingered. On the journey home, I was aware that whatever happened on the trail had become a part of me. Returning home wasn’t just a physical return; it was also a return with the essence of the trail, sparking a persistent desire for more adventure. Even months later, the yearning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail persists, though not as intensely as the initial experience. The PCT played a pivotal role in my personal liberation, freeing me from preconceived notions about happiness, especially those influenced by others’ perspectives. Throughout the 114 days of this lifestyle, there was never a bad day. I am grateful to myself for seizing the opportunity to fulfill a dream.
I am currently in training for my next half marathon with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series, scheduled for Dec. 3rd in San Antonio, TX. In 2022, I used this series to complete seven half marathons, helping me stay in shape for the Pacific Crest Trail. All the trail photos are now on my Instagram page, and I will be writing detailed articles about each day on my Trek profile to provide context. During my PCT journey, I journaled every day, capturing the experience in real-time. Now, as I write about the entire trip from beginning to end, I have the opportunity to add post-trail thoughts.
While I haven’t reviewed much of the video footage, except for a few moments, I’m excited to see what I filmed. I documented each day, and the footage will be posted to my YouTube channel, Lone Wolf Las Vegas. I hope the upcoming season of hikers can use it as a tool to guide their own experiences, without necessarily replicating mine. My journey unfolded organically, driven by how I felt each day. We all wish we could have made different choices along the way, but this trail taught me that it’s okay to zig or zag, instead of viewing it as I should have zigged when I zagged. The choice is yours to follow what is calling to you.
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