A Pacific Crest Trail kind of Graduation

It’s a very strange feeling that in just a few months I will be embarking on the adventure of my life. I have been in college for what seems like forever, I think it will be about 7 years when I graduate, not to mention a lifetime in school since I learned to speak! I don’t regret it, but school definitely has not always been the best part of my life – in fact much of it was the opposite. I was always the tiny sweet girl who was targeted by aggressive, self-conscious kids who had negative upbringings. Even as a little girl, there were other little girls who would tear me apart emotionally. This evolved on through middle school, and especially high school. Years and years of harassment made me even quieter to the distant eyes – but to my small, close circle of friends I was always colorful, loud, and joyful. That joy is what gave me strength, if I had not had that, I may be a beaten down person today. Though I am still sensitive and my confidence could use some work I do believe that those years in school made me a very strong and outspoken person. I also learned that everything anyone ever said/did to me was a reflection of their inner self which helped me define who I did and did not want to be.

I continued school despite the hardships, college was much easier. Everyone sort of did their own thing and kept to themselves, which I like to do so it has worked for me. I do not consider myself an “academic” person, but I am about to graduate college with a B.S. in Outdoor Recreation which is something I fell in love with years ago. I decided I wanted to be a “professional hiker”, whatever that is! Through my life I have battled the norm and my passions and love in life has been my real driver – not what the world says I should be doing. I know that life is not easy no matter what you do, but doing something you love is what makes life worth everything. I know that my life is going to me amazing after college. Finally, I can see the light and my freedom is coming. I am about to walk off into the wilderness.

The day after I graduate, I will be walking from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail – a ~2,655 mile hike. It sounds crazy, I know – but to me it sounds like I am finally going home. I am going to where I have wanted to be for so long. All those days in class, all those days at work – this is all I have ever wanted – AND I AM FINALLY DOING IT. It’s February, and I’ve just begun my planning process. I am spending my days dreaming about what it will be like. I have been hiking more to get back into shape and to get ready for some real training hikes coming up in April after I leave my job. Each time I find myself on a trail now I pretend like I’ve been hiking for days and that I am looking through the eyes of a thru hiker (on a 2 hour hike haha). I have been staying up late with my headlamp in bed reading Yogi’s PCT Handbook and learning as much as I can, or simply storing information in my brain for later. I am excited, and a little afraid. Can I do this? Yes, I can. But will I know that when I am alone and confronted with something very difficult on the trail? I want to make sure I keep my right mind and stay on the trail – the last thing I want to do is leave my job only to come home a month later. I AM going to do this, and I AM going to walk from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail!! Slowly but surely I am getting things together, I have asked my boyfriend to be my resupply support person because I think it will be a good way to stay connected and to have the experience of relying on him as my partner in life, even when we are apart. I have also asked my friend Julia to transcribe my journals for me as I mail them to her since I will not be using any kind of tablet for journaling. I really like the feeling of pen and paper and don’t think I will be as connected with my journals if I were typing them.

I have bought some gear but most of it I have already, so I am really only filling gaps and will probably have to replace some gear along the way. Money is somewhat of an issue – I expect to have about $3000 for the whole trip but I really need to start budgeting the purchases I am making so I know exactly how much I will have while on the trail. Unfortunately, all this PCT stuff is contributing to my huge lack of care for my 2 classes this semester. I really do not want to deal with them, and have the mindset of a graduate already – except I DO have homework, every dang week. I am so excited to graduate and celebrate my lifetime of education with the hike of my life, doing what I love and have waited for for so long.

I have also been using the PCT-L email list to ask lots of questions like how to thru-hike away from your lover and remain connected, how much underwear to bring, and other relevant inquiries. I am communicating personally with other thru-hikers and hope to be well enough prepared to hike my own hike once I hit that beautiful trail.

I wonder what my trail name will be….. πŸ˜€

4 thoughts on “A Pacific Crest Trail kind of Graduation

  1. Sally simons

    I just read your story and want to say AWESOME and I know you will have a wonderful experience! I’d love to hike part of the trail with you if I could…near bend Oregon…oh my god you are going to LOVE EVERY MINUTE 🍁 KUDOS ON YOUR GRADUATION TOO 🍁

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  2. Jake Enriquez

    Abbi, Congratulations on your graduation and commencing your PCT odyssey! Your pictures and blog are fantastic,…and inspiring. You have grabbed the bull by the horns. Best wishes and good health. Take care. Jake

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    1. Thank you so much Jake! I am well and I hope you are too. I am headed out this Wednesday for the rest of the summer. My boyfriend also asked me to marry him! So many wonderful things happening in my life at once. Stay tuned for weekly/biweekly updates on how the trail is treating me. It is great to hear from you!
      Abbi

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