After our friend planted the idea in our heads that we should hike the Chilkoot with him in a year or two, it’s been on my mind every day.
Hike for 5 days!? Uphill? Carrying our gear on our backs?
I want to be this fit!
Did I ever used to be this fit?
Sure I was! I was a tree planter! I was a junior ranger! I did week long canoe trips! I cut down trees every day! I lived in a bush camp! I played high school basketball!
Why can’t I get that fit again?
Is all hope gone now that I’m 46, have arthritis in my hips, pelvic radiation that will likely crumble my hips some day, have numbing finger tips from chemo, and was once just about 300 pounds?
I needed some motivation. I found a few blog posts about people who have hiked the Chilkoot, and then found dozens of videos of people doing it on Youtube! They seemed to be all shapes and ages!
That inspired me to rewatch “Wild”. That’s Cheryl Strayed’s story of hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). I’ve read it and watched the movie a few times, so I just fast forwarded through her life drama and watched her hike. In that movie, she’s pulling her black toenails off, and someone tells her “Your boots are too small.” And suddenly she realizes, “My boots are too small.” I had the same realization a few weeks ago when walking down the lower Dome Road. It never occurred to me before that my feet weren’t supposed to be cramped up with my toes buckled under. My shoes were too small!
After watching that movie, I went back to YouTube and landed on some people hiking the PCT and I got totally hooked on a guy who goes by the trail name of “Rev” who hiked the PCT northbound in 2019 at the age of 67. He filmed every day and wove together his story into 35 segments. I watched it, episode by episode, for weeks! I’ll likely watch it all again! It’s THAT good!
I cheered him on, and even tried encouraging him through my screen to eat more at times as I saw his cheek bones start to stick out, as his trail beard filled in like Santa Claus. Yes I realize it was a few years ago he recorded these!
I cried like a baby when he made it 5.5 months later to the northern terminus! (The PCT trail goes from the Mexican border to the Canadian border).
Now don’t get the presumption here that I’m about to hike the PCT. I don’t see that in my future. I mean I’d love it if I did, but I can’t see it. But I get so much inspiration from watching other people do it!
Here’s another guy who inspires me. “JayCrushesIt” is hiking the PCT now! Well he’s off the trail right now healing an injured ankle, but he’ll get back at it! He lost 235 pounds in 1.5 years in order to hike the trail! He puts up a video every week or so with his progress. He’s made it to mile 566 of 2650 miles!
Watching these videos helps me get over fears that are just distractions – just ways to stay on the couch. Bears? So what. Be safe, have a back up plan, and get out there!
I also like reading about the gear they use and carry. And how they get very minimalistic. What they thought they needed, they didn’t.
And their food and meals is fascinating too! Rev’s got another series with his gear, and the things he’s learned along the way. Lots of tips, even how to film your own adventures.
I even dug up some videos of people who failed miserably, who didn’t make it beyond a day or two. These were humbling!
I often think about my friend Lori who hiked the Camino de Santiago on her sabbatical. Wouldn’t it be cool to do something similar? Something I could prep and train for in advance? Something offline and outside? I thought about the Bruce Trail back home and how it would be perfect for a month long hike on my next sabbatical. However you aren’t supposed to camp along it, as it is considered trespassing. What good is that!? You need a shuttle service every night and morning!
Or would I be one of the people who only lasts a day or two? That’s quite possible. I’m fragile, and prone to injury. And I’m still trying to heal my Achilles so it isn’t so aggravated by wearing hiking boots.
First up, the Chilkoot trail next summer. In the meantime, I’ll keep walking, hiking, and improving my fitness.