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How I Felt Starting the PCT

I started the Pacific Crest Trail on Friday, March 31st at the Southern Terminus of Campo, California.

I've had this adventure planned for 7 months and I've had plenty of time to prepare since my sabbatical began in November 2022.

I've watched all the available PCT YouTube videos. I've chatted with multiple PCT hikers who completed the trail in previous years. I was talking about this adventure nonstop. I felt ready! As ready as anyone can really be.

But oh boy. I did not plan for the emotional rollercoaster that I rode the days leading up to my start date. The emotions were high!!

I felt all the feels as I headed down to Campo, California from Los Angeles. All the talk, all the preparation, the time has finally come. I was feeling more nervous and scared than I expected. I'm going to share with you how I felt starting the PCT.

A wonderfully uplifting message from the campground of the starting point at Campo!

The days leading up to the PCT I felt scared shitless, exposed, but also so connected and aligned to my path.

Scared Shitless. I've felt so scared of the unknown. What was I getting myself into? I was leaving my safety net of my home in France and putting myself into new waters. My body knew this and the alarms were ringing. "It's not safe! Stay here. It will be easier." I couldn't stop crying. The tears were just streaming!

Exposed. Holy cow I felt SO exposed. As I walked outside LA with my heavy, overfilled backpack,

I felt exposed. As if everyone knew that I was a fraud and imposter and I couldn’t hide it anymore. This feeling continued as I arrived at the starting point in Campo and met other felllow thru-hikers, most more experienced than I was. It felt intimidating. They could see right through me. I wasn't going to make it. (Sadly, someone actually told me this to my face). That was hard to hear.

Hello massive backpack.

Connected. This is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And my body knows it. I feel alone yet so connected at the same time. I feel alone embarking on this solo wild adventure. Going into the unknown by myself. But I also feel more connected to my friends and family in ways I haven’t been before. I feel so grateful for all the support I've received and encouraging words. You guys are amazing.

Since I started the trail, I've also met so many amazing people from around the world! The community out here is amazing! I feel safe and supported.

Day 1 at the Southern Terminus with some amazing people!

Signs. I believe in signs. And I definitely needed some affirmation that I was doing the right thing. On the Thursday morning, the day before I began my thru-hike, I received a sign out of nowhere. I was just about to hop in my Uber to go to the LA train station, and a girl stops me on the sidewalk and asks “are you going on a thru hike?”. The keyword. Thru hike. Damn she knows what she’s talking about. I said yea and she asked which one “The PCT”. And she looks at me and says “I did it last year!!”. It was the exact reminder that I needed. A sign that I’m on the right path. I’m exactly where I need to be. She reassured me and said I was going to have a blast. The next sign was that my Uber driver was playing Diana Krall on the ride down to the train station. The cherry on top. My dad's all time favourite artist. I cherish the memories with my dad in the kitchen listening to Diana Krall together. I let Diana serenade me as the tears streamed down my face. “Holy shit this is happening."

So it's been an emotional last few days leading up to the PCT. I've felt scared, the imposter syndrome has been real, but ive also felt so connected to my community and continue to follow the signs leading me here.

As I write this blog post from my tent (sheltering from the 30mph winds), I've been on trail for 4 days. And I can tell you, I'm definitely on the right path.

All smiles on trail, for now!

Keep following the signs.

Believe in yourself. Be your best friend. And don't forget, do what you love and the rest will follow.


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