Ready, Set…

It’s my last night in the dorms. The car is packed, and I have three last assignments to wrap up before checkout at 9 a.m. I should have majored in procrastination. Tomorrow will involve driving the five hours home and spending lunch and dinner with family. My flight to San Diego departs at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday. I’m excited.

The start of a long-distance hike always conjures up the same feeling. It’s the same feeling I had as a child before setting off on a family vacation. It’s the same feeling you get as you crest over the big hill on an intimidating roller coaster. The same feeling you get when leaping from an airplane at 11,000 feet. It’s mostly anxiousness. Not the worried sort of anxiousness, but one which comes with stepping off into unfamiliar and uncharted territory. There are a lot of places on my travel list that I’ve set aside for the future. I’ve deliberately avoided Southeast Asia, Oceana, and South America so that I’d still have some surprises in store for later in life. I’ve been to Europe more times than I can count and I don’t get the feeling of excitement traveling there as I’m experiencing now. It’s become routine. I avoid doing any research on a place unless I’ve made plans to visit. In the case of the Pacific Crest Trail, up until three weeks ago, I had little idea of what to expect. I’ve had a few friends that have made the trek in years past, so I knew there would be some desert hiking up front. I’ve sat around campfires where folks would reminisce about the High Sierras, but I’ve never gone out of my way to watch a film about the trail. I hadn’t followed any hikers by reading their blogs. I didn’t want to ruin my own experience. I wanted it to be a surprise. With a few short weeks to prepare for this trip, I had to do research to figure out what kind of gear I should bring. Luckily for me, instead of watching hours upon hours of gear videos, I found a website belonging to group of folks who survey hikers every year to find out how they prepared, what they brought, and most importantly, how their gear held up and performed. – Link – It’s a great resource for those new to hiking and backpacking veterans alike, and it didn’t spoil any portion of the trail.

Aside from knocking out half of the trail, I do have a few expectations I’ve set for myself on this 100-day trip.

  • Take a selfie every day.
  • Camp on a mountaintop whenever possible.
  • Take the time to frame-up one epic photo each day.
  • Shoot at least one time-lapse per week. Two when a new moon or meteor shower occurs.
  • Avoid falling to my death on high mountain passes. Avoid drowning during water crossings. Avoid scorpion stings and rattlesnake bites.
  • Shed 30-40 pounds along the way.

After arriving in San Diego, I’ll be meeting up with a cousin to do some shooting and last minute shopping. I’m hoping to hit the trail early Sunday morning.

I’m not sure if this platform is going to be prolific or quickly abandoned. My intention is to write each evening, but once I settle into camp after a hard 20-mile day, I can’t make any promises. Since I am the proud owner of a flip-phone without data, posts will be deposited here in batches whenever I come across a town. If you want to follow along elsewhere, I can be found on Twitter and Instagram.

Next stop: US/Mexico Border

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