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Monday, March 12, 2018

PCT: A dad asks: "Why?"

~ a Dad's view ~

Walk 2600 miles?

Who want's to expose themselves to mountain lions, bears, poodle dog bush, heat stroke, dehydration, corneal flash burns, extreme snowfalls, raging creeks, falling off a mountain and a higher risk of dying?  These are just some things one may encounter on the PCT. There are others.

Who enjoys filter their drinking water from creeks, sleeping on the ground, walking in the rain, going days without a shower, eating only what they can carry, digging a cat hole to take a dump or carrying their used TP  around in their backpack?
My son and I have hiked together a number of times.   I understand the pleasure of being outside in nature, enjoying the vistas, smells of the forest, magic morning light, wonderful sunsets, night sky full of stars, and even meeting animals in the wild.  I can get that 300 feet from my house.

My son will start his thru hike of the PCT April 19. He plans on walking 2600 miles over 5 - 6 months. He asked me to if I was interested in joining him.  I can't imagine spending months away from my wife and home.  Also, since I'm 73 years old and have an artificial aortic heart valve, I declined.

I will also admit that I don't understand what there is about thru hiking.  He and I have hiked 30 miles with 35 pound packs on our back on the WRT.  We've also climbed 14,000 ft mountains, woke up to sub-freezing temperatures, and dug our share of cat holes.  I even tolerated a mountain goat a few feet away watching, waiting for me to finish my business one time.
The longest I have been out on a trail is three days. I knew that any discomfort would end soon.  The discomfort of lost toenails, blisters, sore pack shoulders, and three days of being dirty, sore, and exhausted were enough for me.

So, I wonder, what drives PCT thru hikers?  Are they nuts, crazy, thrill seekers, or maybe suicidal?  We have had conversations about it. I have read blogs, reports, books, watched videos and still do not understand.

When he asked me if I would be his cyber-base support assistant, I agreed. We talked about what message he wanted to communicate or write about. I suggested he help me answer the questions of 'Why?"  Why do these people do it?

The nature and thrills on the trail has been discussed, recorded, photographed and written many times. You can see that on many blogs.  That I get.

What I don't get is:  "Why?"
I want him to help me answer that question.

If things go as planned, and they rarely do, future post on this blog may address that question.

Or not.

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