When I was eighteen-years-old, I made a three-week solo backpacking trip into the backcountry of Yosemite National Park. Being a wide-eyed, big-city boy from Singapore, I had little outdoor experience. I was slowed down by a too-heavy backpack; and from the blisters caused by a pair of stiff, new leather boots that were probably a full size too small. The ultimate humiliation came when a French girl who had started the trail with me offered to carry my backpack for me, and share her stash of weed!
One night, about halfway into the trip, it rained and I didn’t have a tent. I was cold, wet and miserable. Fortunately, I was near Tuolumne Meadows, and bought a $5 tube tent from the grocery store there. While waiting for my gear to dry out, I signed up for some rock-climbing lessons with the Mountaineering School there and began a long love affair with climbing. Despite everything that went wrong, that trip was a very positive experience. It shaped and changed my life forever.
I’ve decided to attempt a thru-hike of The Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 to revive those positive feelings. At 4280 km long, it’s a significant challenge. Only about 20-25% of people who start the PCT thru-hike, actually finish. To put it into perspective, it’s like starting from Singapore and walking to Lhasa, Tibet, and then continuing on to Kathmandu, Nepal, without reaching the full distance of the PCT. The trail also climbs a total of more than 149,000m, or the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest from sea-level, almost 17 times. If all goes well, I’ll start my hike in early April, 2018, and I’ll be home sometime in September.
I wanted a challenge, something outside my comfort zone, with an uncertain outcome. I think I’ve found it.