Every day on trail I’m thinking about what to write and how to express the emotions flaring up during the day in the written word. Just pondering on this is overwhelming. But as I said in one of my recent status updates on Facebook, when it get’s hard, the only thing I can think about is “Why am I doing this to myself?”

Daring to answer the question of a quest, the journey of my life, what keeps me motivated are the people around me — physically and virtually!

The last section from Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass was the shortest on the PCT so far — never the less it was action packed. After watching two of my friends play chess at Stevens Pass for a good two hours, it was evident that we would have to move in order to get some miles in. So we finally started out close to 4pm giving us a mere 3 hours of good sun-light.

7 miles uphill climb was all we got out of those three hours and so we camped at Hope Lake for the first night. Before we left I decided to make the distance of 71 miles in 3.5 days as projected by the plan I created, finally pushing for the average speed. Hiking only 7 miles on the first day didn’t really help my plan.

Trying to sleep in a bit and take it easy I was packed up and ready by about 7am. Both Kodak and Clay were still sleeping so I headed out by myself.

Up and down I went until the river crossing about 15 miles into the day. It was the most difficult crossing I had encountered so far but there were two people ahead of me letting me know how they crossed. While the first branch worked out perfectly I slipped and fell in the river on the second branch. Soaking wet from head to toe moving on and adding miles was the last thing I wanted to do. So I walked to the first campsite I saw on the trail and let my clothes dry out.

Having only done 24 miles in the first two days I needed to pick up speed to make my projection. And that’s what I did. 25 miles to Lemah Meadows followed by 24 miles to Snoqualmie Pass. Knowing I could do big miles felt great even though my body hurt and exhaustion started to set in.

While meeting some day and section hikers on the trail, it was the loneliest three days so far.

“Why am I doing this to myself?” — So many reasons but the one I come back to the most is personal growth. If I learned anything over the last four years, through hardship I learn the most.

For the longest time I’ve been shut, unable to let any one close to me. Allowing people back in was the hardest thing I’ve done but I believe it made me a better person in the end. Now the time has come to be by myself while staying connected to the people around me.