This trail is an interesting place. Everyone starts the trail with certain expectations and everyone has different experiences. Whether they meet your initial expectations or are completely different.
It is a small community where you meet a lot of people. You meet people of different ages, from different walks of life, and from many different places. We’ve met people from England, Germany, France, Sweden, Austria, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, and more. People from all over, here for different reasons.
During these months, life happens to a lot of people. Married couples decide to get divorces on trail, long term couples break up. We’ve actually personally known people that this has happened to. Other people meet on trail and eventually get married. Unfortunately, there was someone we met who recently passed away from natural causes while on trail.
But the trail does make you look at things from a different perspective. Several consecutive months of nothing but backpacking does that. I guess for some people it makes you realize you want change in your life. For others the trail makes them want to never return to normal life. After living so cheapely for months it’s hard to want to return to such a materialistic and money driven world.
However, for Amanda and I it has changed our perspective in an unexpected way. We have realized that “thru-hiking” is not for us. When we were preparing for this thru-hike we were looking forward to the adventure, the journey, the unknown and spending time in nature all the time.
But the “Thru-Hiker” life is a sport. It is about how far, how long, and how fast can you go. Hiking over 2,000 miles in several months is pretty tough and it requires you to hike all day every day. And so you aren’t allowed to just settle down and enjoy yourself in nature. You have to just go and go. You also don’t always feel secluded in wilderness. You are always surrounded by thru-hikers, backpackers, and other hikers. The PCT is well known and a lot of people want to hike it. So always being around people makes the wilderness experience less special.
So we don’t think we are going to continue thru-hiking in the future. We will absolutely backpack. And this trip has taught us a lot about good backpacking practices. But we will seek out the less known places and we will backpack our way.
This trail has changed our perspective in another interesting way. It has actually made us miss home a lot. When we left for the trail, we were ready for change. We liked the fact that after the trail, we could go anywhere and do anything we wanted. But now that we are approaching the end of the journey, we are ready to return to normal life. We do miss relaxing at home, cooking, watching tv, and eating ice cream. And we are so, so ready to have good hygiene again. Daily showers are a beautiful thing.
And so it’s time to announce the end of our hike, though not yet the end of this adventure. We have been planning for a while to leave the trail a little early. Back when we were hiking in the desert, we had a moment of weakness. We were hot, tired, and beaten down. We kept talking about how much more fun it would be to be laying on a beach somewhere. So we looked at our budget, then looked to see where and when we could fly for cheap. We ended up finding cheap tickets to Kauai, Hawaii in September. And so we planned to end our hike in Cascade Locks and fly to Hawaii!
So 80 miles from now we will conclude our thru-hike and soon after we’ll be off to Hawaii for four weeks. We will have hiked an even 2,000 miles in a little more than 4 months. Then we will be recovering on tropical beaches. We will live out of our backpacks, swim in the ocean, and lay in hammocks. We’ll keep posting to the blog and sharing pictures of course. Aloha!
Happy trails and beaches,
Sage and Pinion