Well folks, this is a very exciting post for me. Today was the first day to apply for permits to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017, and after about an hour of refreshing the PCTA website and several minor heart attacks, I was able to secure a permit for a start date of April 11th!
The permit application process was made particularly stress-inducing due to the massive number of hikers all trying to get on at once. The application opened at 10:30AM PST, and when the time hit, the website immediately went offline. Thousands of hikers (myself included) repeatedly hitting the refresh button did little to solve the issue. By the time I was able to successfully submit my application, my planned start date of April 18th was already full, as was most of the week surrounding it. I was forced to make a snap decision to either start a week earlier or a week later. As I frantically debated (too early and I might be locked out of the Sierras by snow, too late and I risk intense heat in the desert and fall snow in Washington…), I watched as more and more dates were snapped up. Finally, I said f!%k it and picked a date a week earlier than originally planned. I don’t want to wait any longer. I want to be out there now.
My early start date will give me a bit of extra time to explore the first 700 miles of the trail, and I am a-okay with that. I plan on taking my sweet time through the desert section. I can start off with shorter days to ease my body into trail shape, stopping for naps in the dirt when I please.
Shortly after I secured my permit date, I booked my flight to San Diego. I’ll be flying out early in the morning on April 10th. It’s all starting to feel so real now, but I also still can’t quite believe it. I’m really going to do it. I’m really going to walk from Mexico to Canada. My heart is full.