Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hiking the PCT

With the hype from the book, Wild, by Cheryl Strayed being adapted in to a Reese Witherspoon movie this winter, the Pacific Crest Trail has gotten some attention.  It's a magnificent trail with a rich (near 100-year) history, and reaches from Mexico to Canada along the west coast.  In the book, Strayed recounts her experience hiking from Southern California to Oregon.  The details had me intrigued, and I was really eager to check it out for myself!

One day, while out exploring our new (beautiful!) state, Mike and I happened upon a trailhead for the PCT.  Mike had sprained his ankle, so the best we could do in the world of exploration was drive around the country.  As soon as my heart rate settled, we decided on coming back and hiking once the ankle healed enough.

Yesterday was the day!  We packed our backpacks with our new hiking standards -- peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and granola bars (protein is key!) -- and headed out into the wilderness.  It's always a good 10 degrees cooler in the mountains, and the crisp air hit us with an invigorating force once we stepped out of the car.  After depositing a quick permit describing the names of our party and duration of our hike (this box was directly next to the board providing the phone number for the WolfBear hotline and ranger conditions summary), we headed out.

Once we figured out which direction to go (5 minutes of back-and-forth-ing later), we were quickly engulfed in the lush foliage and fresh wood smells.  The whole hike was gorgeous, but my favorite part by far was a rocky section of the trail where we had panoramic mountain views, and an occasional glimpse of waterfalls and cute little furry woodland creatures (none of the bear or wolf variety, thankfully).

We spent about 4 hours out on the hike, and I'm eager to go back!  I felt a small connection with Cheryl, sharing the experience of the order of nature and feeling so small, but also so free.  I truly feel best in those wide open spaces with the fresh air and vast skies.  I love this beautiful state.

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