As I write this it is the last full day I will spend in this apartment. Next week will be the last week at my job. Two weeks after that I’ll be saying goodbye to my family and my girlfriend for 6 months as I begin my hike from Mexico to Canada. These are the parts of my life that I’m giving up or putting on hold so that I can live out a lifelong dream of completing a thru hike.
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is going to be hard, physically and emotionally. It may even be the hardest thing I’ll ever do. But for those closest to me that I’m leaving at home while I go away, it’s going to be even harder. I want to thank my amazing family and incredible girlfriend for supporting me along this journey, I wouldn’t be starting it if it wasn’t for their support.
Hike for Mental Health
In an attempt to make this selfish trip a bit more selfless, I will also be hiking for mental health. I have set up a fundraising page on HikeForMentalHealth.org, a non-profit group that uses hiking as a means of removing the stigma and boosting research of mental illnesses.
80% of the funds will go directly to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, which puts 100% of it’s donations directly towards research grants to help find cures and treatments for everything from ADHD to schizophrenia. The other 20% will go towards the Pacific Crest Trail Association to help maintain the trail so others can continue to experience this same life changing journey for years to come.
My goal is to raise $1 per mile, or a total of $2660. If I can get 50 people to donate just 2 cents a mile, we can reach that goal. Below is a table showing the total donation amount based on cents/mile. Of course a standard $10/$20/$50 is just as welcome as a ‘per mile’ donation!
As the months have turned to weeks and my start date gets closer and closer, I am finishing up the last bit of planning. I’ve spent hours repackaging dehydrated food into smaller ziplock bags and looking through maps to plan where I can actually get the food sent to me.
At this point, most of my gear has been purchased and is ready to go. Which is great, because I am so tired of researching gear! A common question I get is, “How heavy is your pack going to be?” Without including food and water, the answer is about 17 pounds. On average, I’ll be carrying an additional 5 to 20 pounds of food and water, depending on where I am on the trail.
I am excited and nervous for this trip to begin. I look forward to the experience of waking up to the sunrise and falling asleep under the stars. To be hearing, seeing, and feeling the natural world around me day in and day out. I am excited for the freedom that comes with the simplicity of hiking, where a simple shelter from the rain and some hot food become things of enjoyment and the need for constant digital stimulation ceases.
And I am nervous for the days of pain that will push me to my mental limits. For the homesickness that will inevitably hit, and the desire to just wake up in a warm bed or to see my girlfriend’s smiling face as I shiver myself to sleep after three days of hiking in the rain.
I will be posting updates about my trip here on my blog, so check back often or join my mailing list at the bottom of the page to hear about new posts. I’ll also be posting photos of all the cool things I’m sure to see on Instagram, so follow me on there too!