The Mountains are Calling So I Must Ignore All My Responsibilities

Over the past few months, I’ve been obsessed with hiking. This is not that unusual: if you work a fulltime job, the time available to spend on recreation is limited, and we’re also limited by the weather and season. (Oh! how I miss being a college student!) In the past, I’ve always accepted that there’s only so much time available, and there’s always next year. Inexplicably, I’m feeling a sense of urgency this year: what if there is no ‘next year’?

I promise, this isn’t a philosophical post.

I have a week-long PCT section hike planned for September. I’m hopeful I can get in an overnight trip before then to test out a few things. I plan to do this hike the same weekend I’m in the Easton area for the Cascade Crest 100. I hope to finish up my volunteer shift and get out onto the trail. There’s a good chance I’ll be out there with a crowd, as this area is very popular with folks from Pugetropolis. That’s probably good practice for the September hike, as I’ll be in the teaming herd of northbounders on the PCT. I’m hoping to squeeze another section hike into October, schedule and weather (and wildfires) permitting.

I’m obsessed with planning for PCT hikes now. I stare at the info on Guthook’s PCT map. (Awesome app – if  you’re hiking a trail they have a map for, buy it! Having the recent updates of where water is available alone is worth the price. Instant information about elevation profiles is really nice, too.) I’m looking at ways to do the section at the southern end of Washington’s trail. It’s a lot of elevation gain & loss, so I’m debating how much I can cover on one trip: a long weekend? plan that section for my next hard week-long hike? When do I want to tackle the section north of US 20? What about the trip that started all this, the Stehekin to Lucerne hike?

So I’m spending a lot of time looking at maps, trying to find advice about food, debating how to best prepare my body for these hikes, wondering how much water I should plan to carry during the dry sections, taking a hard look at what gear is worth spending money to get something lighter, experimenting with trail meals, wondering how much I can tackle when there’s still snow on the ground, reading blogs from thru hikers, dehydrating food for trail meals, et cetera.

Y’know what I’m not doing? Housework. Yardwork. Sleeping. Relaxing and enjoying our lovely patio on summer evenings. Hanging out with friends.

I think this qualifies as obsessive behavior, but I’m not sure I’m willing to quit doing it. Because while there’s certainly a next year, there’s no guarantee next year will afford the same opportunities as this year.

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