The Planning Begins (Nov. 18, 2014)

Things to accomplish: Pacific Crest Trail (A piece of the Triple Crown)
–  Meet life long friends
–  Become an experienced hiker
–  Begin my simple life
–  Figure out my career job
–  Finding out what I want in life.

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As I am getting ready for my so called “thru-hike” of the PCT, it is hard to hold back with all my excitement. It is hard to determine exactly, what led me to this trail. I had a couple of combinations that pushed me to the trail life. Starting off, one being my brother in law, Paul and my sister Danette getting me into hiking. They have taken me to Glacier NP a couple times now and I have just completely fell in love with it. Another important part, was borrowing gear (Brother Mike) and crashing at relatives places. Lastly, running into fellow hikers that have finished the PCT. With my long excursion ahead of me, I will have endless planning, to accomplish my goal. Some people enjoy planning a hiking trip just as much as the hike. For me, plain and simple, the planning doesn’t even come close to the hike. To figure out what type of a hiker I am, I set out for 50 days last summer. One of things I figured out, was that I am a so called “thru hiker.” Couple months earlier I had no clue what that even meant, but when I found out what I was, I couldn’t stop screaming, “I’m a thru hiker.” I partially started tearing up. Finding a part of yourself is extremely important in life. For the most part the hikes went pretty smooth. My hiking trail knowledge strengthened immensely. Most importantly, I found out how the smallest decisions at the time, can be extremely crucial for survival.

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This past summer, I hiked in the rain for at least 8 hours. My Frog Toggs (rain gear) completely failed on me, since I had to bushwhack and got tons of holes in them. As I hiked up to the pass, I yelled out “Is this all you got?” Just before I made it to Beaver Woman Campsite GNP, it started sleeting and I still had to cross a creek. By this time, I was completely soaked and started hallucinating. While walking thru the creek, it felt like I was warming up from the water. I couldn’t think clearly at all, because I was so chilled. Also what I remember, my body wanted food more than warmth. So, I was constantly stopping to bend over to eat huckleberrys with my mouth. I thought “just like bear.” Finally, I made it to camp. I checked out all the tent sites, just as if it was a normal day. Quickly, I set up my tent and threw everything inside. As I grabbed my sleeping bag, I noticed it was partially soaked. I ripped it out, hopped in it. I started kicking my legs back and forth, trying to get the feeling back in them. I broke out my emergency blanket and put it in my sleeping bag. By this time, I knew I didn’t want to fall asleep, till I got the feeling back in my legs. I still couldn’t put it together, I needed to take my wet clothes off. After about two hours of shaking and eating tons of tons of calories, a thought came to my mind. “Check the clothes bag for dry clothes.” I tore out my bag and threw on my clothes. Another hour past by and I was able to warm up and pass out.
After that, I learned quite quickly how small decisions can turn into major mistakes. Also, from now on I will ALWAYS hike with my items in a garbage bag. I still have a lot to learn, but now I feel more prepared for most of the trails out there.

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I have quite the journey ahead and plan to meet many life long friends.

Knotts