Longest. Trail Break. Ever.

The Trail is calling, and I must answer.

But is it a good idea?

It’s been two months of quarrantine, social distancing, and general chaos. I’m amazed how much the world has changed in such a short time. We are truly living through crazy times.

“Which way to the trail?”

The Pacific Crest Trail class of 2020 has had a pretty tough time. Doing a thru-hike during a pandemic has many tricky considerations. I have spent the past weeks thinking about this issue, and I want to walk you through my thinking.

Doubtful Logistics

Thru hikers get to get away from civilization, but they also rely on civilization to survive. If you couldn’t go to the general store, you’d have to bring a 22 and shoot squirrels for food. Sounds a little too wild, even for me.

With the covid 19 pandemic, we can’t be fully sure that the necessary resources will be open. Post offices, rural resupply stores, and precious restaurants where you can get patty melts (worth their weight in gold).

The southern California section is pretty safe for this. You aren’t ever more than a few days walk away from a road. Plenty of escape routes.

But in the Sierras, resupply stations are few and far between. Missing a resupply could be a major problem. I will have to see the conditions when I get up there. PCT 2020 takes a lot of flexibility.

And good luck getting picked up hitchhiking.

Next time I’m bringing a sharpie. My marker graffiti has probably washed off already.

Sunk Costs

I said I would do it. I told people. I spent thousands of dollars. I put off making life decisions.

I can’t give up that easily. Every trip is going to have difficulties. We have to deal with whatever the trail throws at us. Even if that thing took that whole world by surprise.

No backing out now.

A Looming Danger

I’ve heard a few really scary reports about the coronavirus. People not being able to breathe after a few days of symptoms. If you can’t breathe, you can’t walk.

I said earlier that you could be a few days away from rescue. That leaves a really scary circumstance open. You could be stuck out there on your own, unable to breathe, 30 miles from rescue. That’s a bad walk out.

Luckily I have an SOS button. I’ll just chug a bottle of Hydroxicloroquine and go😄.

The Verdict

I’m going to do another section starting June 1st. I will start from Warner Springs and head northbound. I have to get back out there.

I’m not going to say anything about time or mileage. However far I get is fine.

I’m not gonna lie, I don’t want to leave my garden behind. Tomatoes will be coming in soon!

We all want to regain our normal lives. For me, that means doing the PCT as I had planned. This makes the trip more doubtful, and adds an extra element of danger to the trip.

But I learned out there that I need to trust myself to do the right thing when the time comes. That means not obsessing about the things I am scared of. Whatever happens, all I can do is my best.

Follow my route at https://share.garmin.com/samwise

Thanks for reading✌🏻


May 2020, off trail PCT mile 110