I decided in autumn of 2020 that I wanted to attempt a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2023. A bit over sixty miles has been my longest backpack to date. The PCT is 2,653 miles from Mexico to Canada, wildfires and other trail closures permitting. Preparation — mental, physical, logistical — has been the guiding star of my leisure time ever since. It now appears that I can leave in March 2022, a year earlier than first planned.
This feels like the greatest privilege and adventure of my life so far at almost 56, and I’m grateful to have been swept up in this current of aspiration, to my partner Em of eight years for agreeing to look after my dear cat and plants and offering remote logistic support, and to my business partner Cheryl for assenting to shoulder all the work in my absence. I am greatly blessed.
I will blog my experience here. This is mostly for my own reminiscence, but friends, family, and strangers who want to follow along: welcome. The internet isn’t what I worked on in the nineties anymore, but blogging suits me better than social media when I’ll have a long story to tell.
Ambulando just means walking, and refers to a line attributed to Augustine, solvitur ambulando or “it is solved by walking.” I don’t have a problem to solve — I’ve never been happier — but I like the gist. Wikipedia reports that Diogenes, centuries before Augustine, is said to have rebutted Zeno’s paradoxes on the impossibility of motion by getting up and walking away. Just do it?
I love walking. I love wilderness. Months on end of walking in the most ruggedly spectacular wilderness of California, Oregon, and Washington is something I just want to do. My track will be visible from the moon that I hope to sleep under for four to six months. The completion rate among the thousands who embark each year is about 20%. I don’t think I’m special, but I’m going to give this my all. Whether I finish or not, I will have succeeded if I stay on trail as long as I can enjoy it (bad days or weeks will happen), without injury or exhaustion compelling me to quit.