Well, with all of the [mostly rational] fear-mongering going on about Sierra conditions, I once again am having a little bit of self-doubt. Or, to be honest, laziness? Fear of the Cold and Damp? So I thought I’d do a little pick-me-up article on why it’s imperative that I [safely] hike this summer instead of putting it off for another time.
- Water? No worries!
This year is unlike other years in that water is the absolute least of anyone’s worries. So far the PCT water report is listing most sources (even those generally dry) as hunky dory. I tend to do well in dry conditions, but hey! One less thing to worry about, and my back is definitely a fan as well.
Speaking of that…
- Only the tough will survive.
People are already bailing from treacherous conditions. Not that I want to see people not succeed in something they’ve always wanted to do, but if there are less people out there, you get to have the wilderness more wild.
- Seeing shit you don’t usually get to see.
Having everyone else bail means you have this landscape all to yourself. And that’s pretty epic, as you will see some things that have been more rare on the trail in recent years. Giant blankets of snow! Obscured sign posts potentially forcing you to use a compass! Rushing stream crossings! It will be challenging, but rewarding.
- Total solar eclipse
So if you can manage to make it through California, and can get thee to Oregon, you will be directly in the path of a total solar eclipse. Can I say this again? Sure. YOU.WILL.BE.DIRECTLY.IN.THE.PATH.OF.A.TOTAL.SOLAR.ECLIPSE. Guess when the last of these bad boys passed through the lower 48? In 1979. Before I was born. Even more fun facts from Wikipedia:
The August 2017 eclipse will be the first with a path of totality crossing the USA’s Pacific coast and Atlantic coast since 1918. Also, its path of totality makes landfall exclusively within the United States, making it the first such eclipse since the country’s independence in 1776. (The path of totality of the eclipse of June 13, 1257, was the last to make landfall exclusively on lands currently part of the USA.
Who else is getting an astronomy hard-on with me?
And the number one reason to thru hike the PCT in 2017…..
- Don’t put off the future
Again put in perspective this year by working with tons of retirees on life-dreams who are traveling the world, but too frail/in pain to do half of the things they want to do, I’m simply unwilling to put dreams off for tomorrow at this point in my life. I can honestly say that while I haven’t exactly lived a secure life, I don’t really have regrets about it (mayyyybe not learning a foreign language when I was younger, but I acknowledge it was/is still not high enough on my priorities list, and I’ve mostly gotten over it). So just do what you want to do, as long as it doesn’t endanger anyone else. You will make unexpected memories and connections along the way. Not much more to life than knowledge and experience anyway.