Today is my last day in Canada. Early tomorrow morning, I will board a flight to San Diego, and the following morning I will take my first steps on the Pacific Crest Trail. After over a year of preparation, I woke up a couple of days ago and it all suddenly seemed so real. When I first learned about the PCT and thru-hiking, and thought “I’d like to do that some day,” it all seemed like some kind of distant dream. And now it’s here.

Every time I think about what I’m about to do, a jolt of excitement runs through my body. But there’s also an undercurrent of pure terror. As much as I like to envision myself as a spontaneous, carefree adventurer, I’ve always been a bit of a worrier. What if I injure myself and can’t finish? What if I don’t make any friends? What if I can’t handle the snow in the mountains? What if I don’t have the right gear? What if I haven’t prepared well enough? What am I doing?

On this journey, I am challenging myself to go with the flow. I’ll rest when my body wants to rest, I’ll eat when I’m hungry, I’ll cross bridges when I come to them. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time.

Kolapore Uplands

Last few Canadian hiking excursions. With friends both human and furred.

I left my job a little over two weeks ago, and at that point, there seemed to be an endless stretch of time ahead of me before the journey began. But the days have flown by. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to maintain some semblance of my physical fitness while also running around trying to spend time with as many of my friends and family members as possible and finishing up all the last minute little things that had somehow piled up into quite a long to-do list. I’ve been hiking, ordering last minute items, prepping my gear, gathering my first few days of food, getting my important documents and information together, and trying to soak up as much of home as I can.

Practicing setting up my tarp tent with found objects. I’m a strong independent woman and I don’t need no stakes.

Tomorrow, I’ll head to the airport before dawn (driven by my lovely father, who kindly agreed to sacrifice his sleep in order to drop me off). Thanks to time zones (I’m going back in time!), I’ll arrive in San Diego before noon, where I’ll be picked up by some beautiful souls in the form of trail angels. I’m staying with the legendary Scout and Frodo, who have spent many years helping PCT hikers start their journeys. They’ll take me into their home (along with 18 other hikers also arriving on Monday!), give me meals and a place to sleep, and drive me to the trailhead on Tuesday morning. I am so incredibly grateful to them for everything that they do for us.

I still can’t believe this is really happening, but it is. I’m really going to attempt to walk from Mexico to Canada. It’s really real. I can’t wait to start this adventure, and I can’t wait to take you along with me.

xo – The Caffeinated Hiker

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18 thoughts on “PCT Day -1: It’s Really Real

  1. Good morning! Wow, you’re almost here. The trail is happening now. I live near the I-10/Snow Creek trailhead and have already transported 4 hikers to and from their destinations.

    Today I am restocking water & snacks in the cache. The hillsides are alive with yellows. It is quite chilly this morning.

    Looking forward to following your hike. See you soon!

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  2. Kristin, I just wanted to wish you farewell and happy journeys! You commented many times on mine that I thought it would be good luck for me to do the same on you as you set off. Soak it up and enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When the Queen of hiking blogs takes the time to send her best wishes, well, that’s gotta get you pumped! I’m envious 🙂

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  3. Wishing you all the best – so excited for you! I find that excitement and pure terror always go hand in hand with a big adventure on the horizon. I bet you are more ready than you think you are. 🙂

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  4. Enjoy the hike, however long it ends up being. It shouldn’t be a contest, but rather a respite from the rat race of the modern world you are leaving behind. I find that I make about 90% of the daily miles with 0% of the frustration and anxiety when I just hike for the joy of it. Stopping when I feel like it, camping when a beautiful site presents itself, and just enjoying the journey. It’s hard for me to do, but after a few days on trail I can lay down the burden of worrying about a largely artificial schedule and just focusing on the real reason to be out there. It truly is about the journey and not the destination. About the only immutable rule is take care if your feet and they will take you wherever you need to go.

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