My 2,650mile (4,264km) thru-hike adventure of the Pacific Crest Trail is just around the corner!
Friday, March 31st marks the start of my epic journey through California, Oregon, and Washington, aiming to reach Canada by October (6 months of hiking!)
Since I announced my adventure, the majority of my 11 month sabbatical has been deep dive into everything thru-hiking and ultralight backpacking. As a complete newbie, the learning curve was steep, but thankfully, the internet (huge shoutout to YouTube and the incredible hiking community!) has been an invaluable resource.
The prep phase was filled with endless questions:
Which backpack is the best combination of light and durable?
What shoes will carry me through without wear and tear?
What will my sleep system look like?
To cold soak or to stove?
Where are my resupply points going to be?
Should I expect a heavy snow year?
How will I find water?
How much food is enough between resupply points?
And the ever-persistent: Why am I doing this???
Starting from scratch was daunting. I've had to learn about gear, plot out resupply strategies, and decide on the best start date.
Why take on this thru-hike, you might wonder? It's a question I've revisited often since deciding to take on this challenge.
Why I'm Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail:
I've categorized my motivation of thru-hiking the PCT into two key lists that helped me get clear on my purpose and my guiding why.
With 100% certainty, there will be days where I will doubt my decision; reminding myself that this hike is completely voluntary. That I'm willingly walking through the rain, desert heat, and/or snow storm. And to most, it seems absolutely crazy.
When the blisters outnumber my toes, this amazing adventure might not seem so fun after all....
In these moments, that's when the daunting question will creep in: WHY AM I DOING THIS AGAIN??
Allowing myself to imagine all the things I'm missing. A comfortable bed, warm shower, a home cooked meal, a day of binging Netflix, friends and family.
WHY ON EARTH AM I DOING THIS AGAIN???
So instead of being at the mercy of my emotions when this question undoubtedly surfaces, I've made a plan. I've created a compelling list (kept safely in my journal) to help me prepare when this situation arrives. The list will be repeatedly read as often as needed.
List #1: I am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail because...
Because I will be SO proud of myself if I can
Postponing life is a flawed approach
I'm craving an adventure larger than life
It's time to grieve and heal the loss of my dad
I want to radiate in self-confidence and self-love
Life is short, do awesome things while you can
Embrace the bare minimums. Materials don't make you happy
I have the rest of my life to sit in front of a computer
My second list focuses on the result. The personal benefits I'd like to acquire from thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The list will allow me to be outcome-oriented when I begin to doubt myself when times get hard.
List #2: When I successfully thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail, I will..
Be a total badass
Have an unshakeable confidence
Turn a glaring weakness into a strength
Create long-lasting and real connections
Have overcome one of the greatest challenges of my life
See the world in a complete new light
Have the story of a lifetime
Ignited my fire within
These lists will be a powerful and essential tool to keep me mentally strong on the trail. My mantras. My go-to affirmations. My strength in moments of weakness. My bulletproof list.
These lists are more than just words; they're my mantra, my source of strength in moments of doubt, and my reminders of why I'm embarking on this adventure.
Do these reasons resonate with you? Inspired to plan your own adventure?
I'd love to hear what drives you. Drop a comment below with your own reasons for adventure!
Chloe Jane is a mindfulness coach, yoga teacher and sound healing practitioner. She believes in slowing things down and inviting deep rest into the fast-paced world.
She teaches a variety of restorative yoga styles: yin, restorative yoga and yoga nidra. She is a Sound Healing Practitioner and works with the energies of her Tibetan Singing Bowls.
Chloe will be embarking on a 2,650 mile thru-hike in March 2023 called the Pacific Crest Trail. She is South of France based and you can find her on instagram @chloejanejacobs.
Follow her sabbatical adventures and join her blog community!