How are your feet? Are there sore spots? Perhaps you should rest them. Take advantage of this supply station in passing and lay low. Soak them in some water, wake them up, give them new life. There’s still road ahead.
Let me just say, congratulations. You’ve come a long way, you trailblazer. Did you ever think you’d get this far? I did. As a matter of fact, I think you’ll be able to finish what you started, how ever that's measured.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you continue on the trail:
Most of the battle is mental, not physical. If you decide from the southernmost tip of your soul that you will reach the top, you will. Be sure of that. There is nothing more powerful than a resolute mind.
Give yourself the credit you deserve. Yes. You, map tracer. Do you how many people plan these feats and how many eventually start them? I bet thousands of people don't ever step one foot in the soil. They give up before they begin, as it is with many things in life. You didn’t give up, though. Nope, you’re still here. That is quite something.
Always keep in mind that you cannot discover new paths unless you have the courage to get lost. Wander freely, without fear. Love whoever you find along the way, revel in the solitude, always be in awe of nature. Use your heart as a compass - that’s how important things are found.
Don't ever feel guilty about the need to scratch the itch that you have for things that are remote. It may even be for things that are near but feel very far. It means that you are curious about life, and you are curious about searching for the answers yourself.
Give yourself the chance to love the trail... and to hate the trail. Even when the scenery is beautiful, there will probably be times when you hate it because you’re tired, your feet hurt, it’s raining mercilessly, it’s cold, or for whatever reason, you just hate it. That’s okay. Learning to love requires feeling those other less desirable emotions. It’s like light and darkness; one cannot exist without the other.
Be patient. (This is one of the toughest). All great things are achieved with time. And patience, along with tolerance, are the foundations for happiness. It may not always be how we want ‘em, yet with just a little bit of work, things start to change.
Lastly, just take deep breaths often. Because you’re alive on this planet. And that’s a miracle worth celebrating!
Maybe you didn’t come to conquer the mountain, but you came to conquer yourself. Maybe you don’t believe in cars, so you decided to walk. Perhaps you just felt like running away from something or being alone with nature. (Who doesn’t feel that way sometimes?) Whatever the reason, I’m so glad you're here because this will change you in the best of ways. I promise.
And you will change us, the strangers living on the margins of other people’s epic journeys, wishing to walk in your shoes but lacking the courage to get out on our own. Inadvertently, your bravery makes us braver because you’ve taken our fears and seamlessly walked through them.
So thank you for that.
Thank you for your itchy feet, globe-trotting hunger and courage, dear stranger. I wish you a happy hike on the PCT, and a safe return home (wherever that might be).