I bought a van. A giant beater of a cargo van with a bed platform inside and a mechanically solid engine. It’s dark and cold in there but I sleep amazing in the glittering Southern Oregon nights, buried under a thousand blankets and my zero-degree sleeping bag. In the mornings I’m groggy and stiff and I heat water for tea and go running on the trail through the oak savannah, warming my body from the inside out while the sun slowly stretches over the earth. My little dog bounds alongside me like the adventure fox that she is and after running we eat breakfast and then I switch to the bakery van, a hulking diesel beast, for my long day of deliveries. Kinnikinnick comes along on my route through the winding country roads, curled in a donut on the passenger seat, exuding her small, warm smell.
The van life! It’s not a perfect situation but it’s an experiment and an adventure and it works for now. I am saving money, I am working on my manuscript, I am preparing…
to hike the PCT again. This year.
I’ll start May 1st and I plan to finish in four months, instead of five. My intention is to hike the trail faster this time, with more focus, and with less money. I have most of my gear already and since I’ve hiked the trail once I have a much better idea of my resupply strategy, of the towns I want to stop in, of how many zeros I actually need, of how hard I can push myself/when to let myself rest. I won’t be blogging every day, so that will save me several weeks of zeros. And this time I’m actually training beforehand. I’ve been trail-running 45-50 miles a week and in March and April I’ll go on as many 20 mile day-hikes as possible which, now that I have a vehicle, I can actually do.
I won’t be blogging consistently this time but I might start some other sort of project, like a photo documentation project or…? I don’t know. There are so many things, my love for the trail is endless. My love of thru-hiking is endless. If I could thru-hike every year and write in the winters, I would be the happiest and most fulfilled creature ever.
What else has been happening? I went to the ALDHA West Winter Ruck in Cascade Locks, and it was fun and surreal to be around other “hikers” in the off season. Talking about gear, doing pack shakedowns, sitting around a campfire… it was beautiful and sad. All of us just waiting, waiting until we can hike again. Putting in time in this other world until we can go back to the one that we love.
I’ve also been querying literary agents re: my manuscript. It’s thrilling and exciting, a previously unknown part of the publishing world for me. I’ll let you know how that goes.
I’m so excited to thru-hike again. It makes my heart pound just thinking about it. Nothing has ever made me feel as happy, inspired and fulfilled. Nothing.