I’ve been dreaming of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for years. And for years I denied myself that dream because it was too painful to dream about. And for awhile, I didn’t have the confidence in myself to even dream about it, let alone do it.
Back in 2011, my friend Adam was planning to hike the Appalachian Trail and mentioned there was a long trail on this side of the country. I didn’t even know what backpacking was, but the idea of doing nothing but walk for months on end sounded like heaven on earth. Adam passed away in 2014, before he was able to do the AT, and before we were able to do the PCT. Three years of dreaming, replaced with four years of stuffing down my dream because doing this trail would mean he is actually gone. If I wait, it feels like he’s still on the BASE trip he died on, maybe he’ll be home soon. If I go, he’s gone. I came to grips with this on the side of a fjord in Norway earlier this summer.
Things like this are why I’m #hikingmyfeelings.
Yesterday, my husband and I went up to Mount Laguna for a sunrise photoshoot.
As we hiked around, I scrambled over rocks, did some “Goddess on a Mountain” shots, and walked back and forth a lot to get the shot. The whole time, with every breath, step, stumble, and scramble, I felt Adam’s spirit with me. His thing was sunsets, and he used to remind us: “You only get so many sunsets.” But he doesn’t discriminate when we need a gorgeous backdrop, he’s got a direct line to Mother Nature these days.
As we made our way around the bend in the trail, the sunrise opened up a spectacular sky. I’m pretty sure I’m going to sob hysterical tears of gratitude when I see the shots from this morning.
This photo marks the day I set foot on this trail for the first time and committed to myself that it wouldn’t be the last.