In Your Words: Summer 2023

In Your Words features selected quotes we receive from PCT travelers about their experiences (whether long- or short-distance) on the trail.

Photo by John Meehan.

Kelly Garman

Although as a single mama in her 40s I don’t have the time or resources to hike the entire PCT, I’ve hiked small sections … and each time my feet hit the trail, my heart skips a bit. It’s a special trail to all of us.

Bobby “Lucky Feather” Gelardi

I stood at the border as a living monument to what I’ve accomplished. I have seen it all and carry it with me. I understand now that the dream is the process. I introduced myself to everyone as Lucky Feather …  and did so dead seriously. I was covered in dirt and didn’t mind a bit. I withstood the elements but also celebrated them. Drinking from waterfalls, swimming in lakes, dancing in the rain, braving strong winds, suffering the mosquitoes, evading wildfires, howling at the moon and singing in the sun. My face glowed red at sunrise on cold mountaintops, and it dripped with sweat in the heat of the harsh desert sun. I laughed with others and all by myself. I felt strong and empowered, as well as weak and fatigued. I pondered life’s deeper questions. I let go of all questions and silenced my mind. I can’t explain how walking away from this journey hurts. Something happens out there. My heart was so full that maybe it exploded.

Tanner “Dundee” Whyte

Five years later, I still dream of the trail from the border wall clear to the mountains of Canada. I will never lose the feeling of going to sleep with the stars, waking up and never sleeping in the same spot again. From desert floors, jagged cliffs and snowy mountain ranges, my boots touched them all one step at a time. One day I will tell my grandkids stories about the Pacific Crest Trail and the phenomenal people I met.

Elizabeth “Long Jacket” Wannop

We were engaged on Muir Pass. The trail is in us, and by default, it is in our two kids.

Matthew “Presto” Lasley

Somewhere around the halfway point I concluded that to be worth enduring all the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional challenges that come with a 2,650 mile thru-hike, I’d need to take four life-changing objectives into my daily life going forward. These four personal objectives are:

  • Forgive myself for my shortcomings as a husband, father and employee
  • Gain new life perspective with this experience
  • Reconnect with my spirituality
  • Be of service to others


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