I’m sitting on a couch at Scout and Frodo’s in San Diego, surrounded by other hikers who are weighing their packs, writing blog posts, and snacking. Outside there are three white tents filled with sleeping bags and packs, USPS priority boxes and Smart Water bottles. Alley is with me, flipping through the beautiful coffee table book Scout made honoring the Pacific Crest Trail. I wasn’t sure if Alley would be able to stay with me for the day, but Rolling Thunder, the volunteer who gave us a tour when we arrived here, immediately invited her to stay for dinner. So she will. I’m so glad. I’m way more anxious than I expected to be. So, so nervous, actually, and I keep feeling like I might burst into tears. I’m excited — of course I am — but fuck, I’m also so nervous!! I didn’t anticipate feeling this way.
I wrote that first paragraph at 2pm this afternoon and now it’s 8pm. I’m still anxious, but less so.
It’s been written a lot in many different trail blogs, but Scout and Frodo and their setup in San Diego is truly incredible. For readers who haven’t been researching the PCT obsessively for months, Scout and Frodo are legendary trail angels who host PCT hikers the night before they start the trail. You can learn more about them on their website. They’ve been hosting hikers for 10 years and this year they are going to host 900+ hikers! It’s pretty cool to feel like a small part of a greater whole — I am experiencing right now what so many hikers before me and after me have also experienced and will also experience. And I haven’t even set foot on the trail yet!
There is still so much movement happening in the house, although it is now 9pm and we’re waking up at 5am to leave the house by 6. I want to sit and write but I’m also anxious about missing out on anything. Anxiety anxiety – seems to be the theme of my PCT-prep / life. Ugh. I wish it wasn’t so but I don’t know how to let go of it, or I’m not trying hard enough to let go of it? I’m not sure which is true. I saw my mom in LA a couple of days ago and I told her, “I can’t wait to get on the trail because then I won’t be able to worry about any of this stuff anymore; whatever isn’t done just won’t get done!” My mom pointed out how nice that is. “It is,” I agreed. “It’s part of why I’m doing this, I think.” Alley laughed. “It’s a huge reason why you’re doing this!”
She’s not wrong. I’ve always had trouble shutting off, slowing down, making my brain take a breath. I usually don’t mind – I pride myself on some of these traits and definitely appreciate my “East Coast Attitude,” my “Capricorn Nature,” etc etc. But the truth is it can be tiring and it can be really uncomfortable. Some people know how to calm themselves, how to relax. They shut off their phones or they declare Sunday a “no tech” day or they just don’t make that millionth to-do list. I haven’t figured out how to do those self regulations. So I take myself to the woods, because then I’m forced to put my phone on airplane mode and literally turn off for a while. And I feel calm, and safe, and happy. I feel good.
I’ve written versions of this story about myself before, but it never stops ringing true.
Anyway! I’ll be going to sleep soon. A bunch of friends have texted me and called me to say goodbye and I love you and I’m proud of you and you got this, and every message means so much. The truth is – I’m scared. I didn’t feel scared until today but now I am. I know I can do this. I know I will! But I’ve been feeling pretty chill about the whole thing and today suddenly I was crying into Alley’s cheek as she got ready to leave me at Scout and Frodo’s with my 44 new friends (LOL), whispering: I’m scared, what if I can’t do this, I’m scared. So thanks, everyone who has sent me sweet motivational loving messages. They are seriously appreciated and I love you all.
I’m gonna do this! I’m gonna walk from Mexico to Canada! I can do it!
But first, I’ve gotta sleep through tonight. Wish me luck…