No, it's not refusing to shave my legs or armpits, nor popping LSD and Acid at the same time... and I have no plans of "trimming" to make a quick buck after this trip--- that's working on a legal or illegal marijuana farm. Mine is pretty simple, I've finally accepted a trail name.
The only two sins you can commit as a thru-hiker are: not going by a trail name and admitting you are out here after inspiration from the book or movie Wild.
It's true, this trail isn't as easy as Wild makes it sound or look, but don't we all know that not everything we read or watch is a 100% true depiction. Hopefully, as you've been following my blog, you realize this adventure is physically tough and even more so mentally and emotionally. Now for the first time, I'll admit, I came out here without any experience as well.
I had only camped in a tent twice in my life, one was a fraternity party in college. My longest hike was no more than 15 miles, and I had never heard of Jet Boil, a Sawyer filter, or MSR tent before. But when I have a will, I make a way. I am also in love with the outdoors. After taking a sabbatical from a news reporting career I loved and hiring movers to put everything I own in storage, I'm more than 1,900 miles deep and have tunnel vision for the finish line. It's not experience, or lack there of, that will get you from point A to B, it's the person inside you.
In my opinion and marketing experience, Wild is publicity for the PCT, and that's always a good thing because it leads to more funding and better up keep of the trail.
At the midway marker of this trail, a couple told me, "it's because thru-hikers are arrogant assholes. This trail isn't as easy as just packing up a bunch of gear and coming out as unprepared as Strayed."
The night Kevin and I weathered a storm in a flash flood, our friend "Rangler" revealed to me, now society automatically assumes you're running away from a drug or sex addiction if you're hiking 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."
My cousin Brooke, who I'm closest to in life, took me to Big Sur for four days in late May. The vacation was with her husband and best friends Chris and Toni Reid. All four of them treated me to grandiose dinners, lots of laughs, and drove a combined eight hours to pick me up from the trail then drop me back off.
Chris sends encouragement frequently, including my favorite text yet:
"Liz, your Root Source is at work through your journey here and on the other side of wet feet and hail storms will be a gift from that Root Source that will be life changing for you. Trust this. Trust this when you're wet, trust this when you're hot, trust this when you're tired Sister. There is a gift in all of this. Your duty to your Source is to show up everyday so that the Gift can unfold."
Hike your own hike!