Gratitude: walking solo, but never alone
When I hike out from Campo tomorrow, I will be walking by myself. There will undoubtedly be other hikers around me on the trail, but I won’t be heading out with anyone I know.
This does not mean that I am hiking the PCT alone.
From the friends who supported me from the first day I started talking about the trail, to the family members and strangers online who gave me advice and good wishes, to my partner Russell preparing to be my pit crew as I hike, I have been helped out every step of the way.
This post is for all of you. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel, but I’ll do my best.
Thank you to my mother Beth, for giving me the gift of trust when she and my dad put me on the plane to India almost 15 years ago. For never doubting my ability to do this crazy walk, and for planning to help with resupply at the Oregon/Washington border.
Thank you to my dad Jene-Paul and stepmother Leslie for their support as I blog about my preparations. Thanks to my dad for sharing his experience on long rambles, and sense of wonder about the world. For never telling me how to do my preparations, but always being ready to answer questions. For loaning me the SPOT and offering assistance along the trail — thank you.
Thank you to my sister Aurora and brother Max, for their unwavering belief in my ability to do this walk. For their offers of support as I get close to them in Oregon. For the company Aurora & her partner Erik will provide when they join me on the trail in the Northwest.
Thank you to my cousin Laura for making me a survival bracelet, providing future trail company, and for connecting me to a thru-hiker for tips, stories, and resupply support (thanks Alyson!).
Thank you to my mother & father-in-law Mary & Rich, my brother & sister-in-law Edwin & Betsy, for providing emotional, logistical, and vehicular support as I prepare for this undertaking.
Thank you to my aunt & uncle and cousins in Los Angeles who hosted me & Russell last night: John & Kathy, Alex, Lucie, Grace & Alyssa. Thank you for great company, lively conversation, and infectious enthusiasm. Thank you to Yosh for putting us up tonight in San Diego, giving us the perfect launching pad for tomorrow’s start of the hike.
Thank you to all my incredible friends. To Aiko, for inviting me along on her JMT hike in 2012. For being my backpacking and running partner in Oakland, and making plans to join me on the trail. To Lauren, for being my partner on that first backpacking trip in the North Cascades back when we were 18. For listening to my jitters, and supporting me consistently through all the paths our lives have taken over the years. To Heather, Meg, and Lizzy, for talking me through my nerves, and encouraging me to go for it. To Sarah, for suggesting I make the hard days fun rather than just enduring them — thank you.
Thank you to my instructors and classmates in the Wilderness First Responder course, for sharing their outdoor experiences, teaching me about patient care, and offering to come meet me (and climb mountains!).
Thank you to all the amazing hikers I met on the JMT, to Ben, Alyssa & Alan, Nell, Andrew, & Sasha, Scott & Becky, Robin, Jesse & Stephen, Pamela, Frisbee Guys, Hootie & Ben.
To everyone else who has given a word of support, encouragement, or offer of help, or who just kept it to themselves if they thought I was being bonkers to make this plan (and follow through) — thank you. To the readers who have found this blog and have been following my preparations with words of encouragement — I’m so touched. Thank you.
And last, but never least, thank you to my husband, partner, and love, Russell. For his unwavering encouragment for me to pursue my interests, even when they take me far away from him. For his above-and-beyond resupply support, and company along the trail. For his patience with my fears, procrastination, and stress. For always being strong enough to never try to stop me from being strong myself.
I mean, stop me?! He boosts me higher.
For you, Russell, e.e. cummings puts it better than I ever could:
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Thank you all, for being a part of this hike. Tomorrow’s the big day. See you on the flip side.