I pick up my pack and walk out the door. Pack’s changed. Things have changed. I’m not in California anymore. No trail mix in a little baggie, but I got a nice fresh bright orange stashed away in a side pocket.
The Midwest is humid this time of year. Summer is coming and the pollen is all in the air and making my face itch, but I walk out into it. The grass is really just a bunch of tall weeds, and it makes moving through it hard.
I’ll be in California again in a week, and I got a bright new green pack to keep all my things in. Sold all my normal-human stuff, so I don’t have a pillow to cry on anymore. But that’s alright, not much to cry about these days except for all the pollen in the air making my face itch and my lungs feel tight.
I walk through the tall weeds and practice how to walk, and how to eat and walk, and how to drink and walk. I practice taking my water bottle out of the side pocket and then putting it back in place. I have worn one of my knuckles raw from the motion. It’s not a natural thing, this “putting the water bottle in the side pocket,” but I’m good at it now. I imagine my raw knuckle will heal and callus and then when I get to Canada I’ll have a tough knuckle and I’ll punch a moose in the face. And it won’t hurt.
People see me walking through the tall weeds, and scratching my face, and eating a sticky orange, and fiddling with a water bottle. I hear a man say, “he’s training” to his son, and I just walk right on by.
Really, there’s not much more to it than that. I train by walking, and then I do the thing by walking. I’ll eat and scratch and fiddle with a thousand things before it’s all done. I’m excited about adventure, and new experiences, and the story I get to create along the way. Mostly though it’s just about spending time in the wild and connecting with my own brain. I feel very lucky to have the mind and body to take on something like this, and even luckier that I live in a place where the PCT exists, and belongs to me–to everyone–and just sits there, forever, waiting to be walked.