“The PCT will break your heart.”
Those are some final thoughts I read on Carrot Quinn’s blog, a thru-hiker from 2013. I read her entire blog around the time Dan and I decided we were going to do this hike, and that phrase stuck with me.
I guess I always perceived that statement to mean the following: The PCT is like a “summer fling” – she’ll show you places you’ve never dreamed of before, give you butterflies in your stomach, and whisper “sweet nothings” in your ear…and then…she’ll leave you cold and dry. Lonely and without meaning. Wandering and without adventure.
But the more I get to know the PCT, the more I understand that statement, or at least what that statement means in my case. The PCT will break your heart, that I understand completely, but not in a “this will never last” sort of fairy tale way, but in a good way.
The PCT is breaking my heart with the things that break her heart. And by “The PCT,” I mean those who hike her (past present, and future), the creatures who live all along her, and the God who formed her mountains, streams, and all that’s in between. The wild, ancient, and ever living PCT is inspiring a break in my heart that is meant to trickle into my life. As I walk along the trail, I wonder PCT-inspired thoughts such as, why is there not MORE wilderness? Why is this area not protected from logging? How many more times can the soil take another clear-cut? Why are there no fish in this lake? How could we have shot the last Grizzly bear in California in the 1920’s?
The trail inspires, but in order to do that, hearts must be broken. How can we truly change if we don’t see the problems with ourselves and the wrong-doings that have come from our past? What’s the point of hiking for five months if I just go back to wishing there was more being done for the “endangered” environment, yet doing nothing about it within my own life?
I’m not saying that I have all the answers or that I’m going to single handedly end global warming. I just wanted to get these thoughts down, so that one day if I forget, (God forbid!) then this will serve as a reminder of my calling to care.