2016 PCT section hike planning begins!

Hello all!

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December 2015:  Big Bend National Park, Outer Mtn Loop Trail (Photo by Hemlock)

After a considerable hiatus with blogging — it’s been over a year since my last post, such as it was, and a year and a half since I was last on the PCT.  I’ve still been hiking, with some shorter and some longer backpacking trips, but I’m determined to get out on a long trail this year!  As always, the unhiked miles on the PCT are never far from the back of my mind. Well, I’m pleased to report my planning is starting to take shape.

So, drumroll please….here are my 2016 PCT section hiking plans!  I have September 2016 set aside to hike part of the 950 miles I’ve yet to complete from NoCal (Sierra City to the CA/OR border) or Oregon.  Woohoo!!!

At this point, I’ve not made any set-in-stone itinerary plans other than I’m going to go.   I’m hoping to hike around 400 miles, perhaps more, hiking speed/fitness level/terrain permitting. The weather this summer and how the wildfire season progresses will be big factors in which section I hike – I’ll be deciding sometime in early August so I can get my boxes mailed off and travel arrangements made.

I’d love to hike all of Oregon if the wildfires aren’t bad, but I’ve had much advice that NoCal is simply perfect in September.  Decisions, decisions!  Anyone have a strong opinion?  Please comment, I’m particularly happy to be swayed by folks who have hiked any of this stretch before in early autumn.  *grin*

For those who aren’t aware from Facebook, I started my own life coaching business late last year, and am working to get it completely “online” right now.  During the last few days I decided to experiment with working “remotely” and with “geographic freedom” for a 10 day stint in June while I get some time and conditioning at a higher elevation in the western mountains (while hopefully visiting with a friend!).  I can’t tell you how much I adore being my own boss!  The stresses of entrepreneurship aside, I love being able to work at my standing desk, look outside, and go out to exercise and enjoy nature in the middle of the day.

My long term plan is to eventually spend part of the winter in the US Southwest (perhaps house sitting??) while working, the summer on a long distance trail during my annual sabbatical, and the rest of the year at home in Ohio.   I like the change of seasons and being close to family.

However, I’ve been seriously contemplating the digital nomad phenomenon.  I’m rather envious of Hemlock, rambling about the southwest and Montana, exploring new places and a different way of life.  Very very intriguing to the long distance hiker inside of me.   However, the past 6-12 months has taught me that I’m actually pretty attached to the subtle beauties of home even without any of my beloved mountains nearby. I’ve learned to compromise with myself this past year, in a good way – looking forward to spending time in the mountains and woods has created a great anticipation and is very motivating for me.  I like the comfort and security of having a home base (hopefully the smaller the house the better – don’t get me started on my tiny house obsession) while still exploring and having lots of time for travel.  I guess we’ll see, I’m not worried as much about it any longer.  I’m in a good place now, and better able to be unconditionally happy with my everyday adventures as well as my big ones.

 

Speaking of everyday adventures, I recently started running!  Trail running, what a shocker.  Full disclosure: I have been out on asphalt all purpose trails in my local parks quite a bit.  🙂

I’ve tried several times over the past decade to get into running, but I’ve just never stuck with it.  As in, I gave up after the second or third run.  Rinse and repeat, often a few times a year.  There’s been a variety of reasons for this, but it really all comes down to my fears – fear of being too slow (thanks again 6th grade gym class and also – yes, the same thing in college coming dead last after a “simple” 2 mile run), feeling self conscious as a plus sized curvy lady, fear of getting out of breath and wheezing with my asthmatic lungs, etc.

However, running has persistently stayed in the back of my mind all this time – the last time something like that happened to me, it was about backpacking, and thru hiking the AT.  Well, we all see where that led me!

My big goal this time:  to run an ultra marathon (a trail one of course) before I’m 40. Yikes. Please note – my first 5K is May 1st.  Gotta start somewhere!   After all, on my first backpacking trip I hiked only a few miles a day, and a little over 2 years later I was finishing up 2000 miles on the AT!  I’m no stranger to big, seemingly insurmountable goals after all.

Resource for ladies in the same boat – last month I joined a virtual group coaching program called “5 weeks to 5K” run by a great lady in the UK whose blog is called The Fat Girls Guide to Running.  While there aren’t that many US based folks in her larger group, I’ve been thrilled to get to know some sisters across the pond.  As a testament to how well the program works, this morning I jogged for 25 minutes – just incredible considering the longest I’d ran for YEARS when I started was well under 5 minutes at a time.

Don’t worry hikers, this blog isn’t going to focus on running going forward – I’m going to start a blog to keep my ultra goal on track.  I’m thinking I’ll need the accountability if nothing else.

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A favorite picture I took this winter while walking – notice the birds (probably geese or ducks) in the water!  I hope this year’s class of hikers has awesome weather and not much white stuff to contend with

Good luck to the Class of 2016 on both the AT and PCT, so many of whom have started recently or will in the next week or so.  To the PCT-ers, I may see you down the trail.

Happy hiking!  Pathfinder

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6 thoughts on “2016 PCT section hike planning begins!

  1. It’s so lovely to see you are getting back out here. Would love to see you if you ever make it back as far south as Tehachapi. Your attitude alone would allow you to fly up that trail.

    Best – T.A. Kate

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  2. I’d love to share ideas and support for hiking while coaching! I’ve learned some things and have questions as well! I’ll be walking a long section of the AT this summer, while sharing my SingingHeartWalk, a playlist for transformative walking, that I developed during my own walks. Love to share it with you and your community! I’ll keep you posted! I walked OR in August, so can’t tell you about September.

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