An Introduction

I have never been much of a “hiker”. Like, a hiker, hiker. I’ve backpacked here and there, and grew up as most kids do in rural Montana, taking regular day-trips to local waterfalls, lakes, and caverns – heck, my parents hiked with me in a pack before I could walk, yet of my past and frequent outdoor activities, none of them included walking outside as a primary interest. I’ve hiked to climbs and to rivers at which time hiking was merely a means to an end, and I’ve hiked peaks with snowboard in tow, at which time a fast, slippery decent was the appeal and the goal. All things considered, the adventure ahead of me feels at once exciting and groundbreaking, but is met equally with trepidation and a little puzzlement.
I’ve realized that my reaction to the question, “why in the world are you doing this hike?” (generally asked with a mixture of concern for my mental well-being, and awe), is an affectation. Generally, I field the question in a way that indicates an epic five-month hike on the other side of the country is well within the realm of normal things to consider as a vacation from New York City, and also a natural choice for me as a lover of the outdoors. But it’s not an entirely truthful answer. Given my past kayaking proclivities and desire to make it back into a boat sometime in the foreseeable future, this isn’t quite a natural choice.

My nascent interest in hiking stems almost entirely from my 24-year-old brother’s passion for the sport – a passion which has egged him through the entirety of the Appalachian trail, and sections of the Continental Divide Trail.
In opting to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with my brother (a 2,600+ mile schlep through desert, high mountains, and snow, with a sibling whose undeniable and primary objective in life during the years we lived together was to drive me absolutely insane) my goal is to understand hiking and Seth’s passion for the sport almost as much as it is to understand Seth himself.

Apart from growing up in the same home, resenting each other as younger brothers and older sisters are wont to do, Seth and I have never {intentionally} spent time together. Generally speaking, we’re interested in different, if not diametrically opposed, things, and have always pursued completely different paths, asking as little participation and input from the other as possible. This trip represents the longest amount of time we’ve ever spent together, and has already required more communication than we’ve ever attempted. Additionally, Seth is the hiker savant in this crazy scheme, and although I can rely on other outdoor experiences to inform me, he’s my best hiking resource, which eats at my older sister ego and control-freak nature, and makes me a little nervous when I think about previous mishaps born of Seth’s Wile E. Coyote-ishness.

Nonetheless, here we are. After countless phone calls between Anchorage and New York City, and a year that flew by, it’s go-time. Our tarp tent is proudly pitched at the 2013 PCT thru hiker kick-off party in Lake Morena, CA, and our first 20 mile stretch is just hours away. I’ve never been much of a hiker, never much of a sister, so tomorrow ushers in the start of a new beginning as well a new grand adventure.