Luckily the aim is that this fire will not burn me; it should only burn what I am not. I have dreamed of thru-hiking North America solo for four years now, but sometimes staying in one place collects under my skin and I reek of comfort zones and promises to never go. The indefinite and the unknown can be an entire canvas of safe spaces. Thankfully, an opportunity presented itself to drop everything for 6 months in 2017 and go for it – so I took it.
What is the Pacific Crest Trail?
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 4,279 km long ribbon of space-time that stretches from Mexico to Canada. It traverses through three states in North America – California, Oregon and Washington. ‘Thru-hiking’ is walking the entire length of a trail in one season. On the PCT, this can take up to six months. PCT thru-hikers must cover over 450,000 feet of vertical climbs and hike through extreme climate changes. The trail starts in the deserts of Southern California, continues up into the dramatic Sierras, the upper-deserts of Northern California, Oregon’s majestic forests, and the Cascade Mountains of Washington State.
Hiking is just so beautiful to me because there are no ulterior motives to the action other than reaching wherever you want to go. There’s no competition. You’re not out there trying to one-up anybody or further your ego. It’s extremely personal and gentle in that way. You’re out there because you simply want to be present. Detached from human existence between the static and shuffle, I’d rather be a rolling thistle on a barren desert floor. At least then I would be connected with something other than a Wi-Fi signal. I want to feel a cold wind blow through my hair as raindrops attack my face. The smell of a damp forest after a thunderstorm, the feeling of wet grass on my bare feet. I crave this.
Why for six months?
I look forward to doing more with less. Abandoning the grid and appreciating the things I take for granted daily. The euphoria experienced from just lying down, the satisfaction eating food for fuel, not to fill a low of endorphins. I hope to finish with an understanding of my body like nothing I have ever had. I want to learn to understand pain and the difference between its source and how I mentally process it. Giving up control of my life within society means I can gain control of my whole being. I can learn to look after myself better.
Why I am I raising money?
I don’t like asking for support, but I only have six months to plan, with the hike costing me approximately $8k to $10k. So I’ve decided to reach out in a way that someone else other than myself benefits from this trip too. Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live. In any one year, around one million Australian adults have depression, and over two million have anxiety. Having been one of these adults at a point in my life, I can appreciate the amazing work BB does to support those who often suffer in silence. Fifty per cent of funds raised for my PCT thru-hike will go to Beyond Blue and the remaining 50 per cent will help feed me on my hike.
What will your donations be contributing to?
Well not only will they be helping such a great non-for-profit close to me, Beyond Blue, the generous donations will be contributing to my food supply over my six-month rollercoaster. To get an idea, expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Equipment/Gear (needs to be light and can cope with three seasons)
- Re-supply send out postage
- Plane tickets, transport, passports/Visas and other logistics
- Layover/rest stops – bed, laundry, etc.
- Insurance, etc.
According to other people’s experience the trail will cost me approximately $1k per month once I start (apparently trail hunger has you eating for two people after hiking an average of 25km a day for months on end.) So that’s an additional $5 to $6k not including all of the above listed expenses.