[pct-l] My noob story

Cat Nelson sagegirl51 at gmail.com
Fri May 3 17:04:34 CDT 2013

Kendall Katwalk is where I caught the PCT bug too. The very first overnight
that I hiked alone.

sagegirl51 at gmail.com
WA Trail Angel
On May 2, 2013 11:52 PM, "Eric Lee" <saintgimp at hotmail.com> wrote:

> All this talk of noobs made me reflect back on my own time as a newbie on
> the PCT.  I don't have any great tragicomic stories to share, but it was a
> deep and meaningful experience for me and yes, I didn't really know what I
> was doing.  But I'm glad I took that leap of faith because the PCT has
> helped define who I am today.
> I don't remember exactly where or when I first heard about the PCT but I
> recall the first time I stood on the trail up at Snoqualmie Pass.  I looked
> southward, I looked northward, and I had an intense moment of saying to
> myself, "Oh.  Oooooooh.  This.  This thing here.  I get it.  This is
> _amazing_."  I was hooked from that point forward, though I didn't quite
> know it yet.
> Sometime shortly after that I discovered and joined the PCT-L, in February
> of 1999, and found an amazing online community.  Sure, there were periods
> of
> arguments and flames and silliness and all that, but mostly it was an flood
> of great information about lightweight and long-distance backpacking.  I
> absorbed that information for a couple of years and armed with my new
> knowledge, decided to try a section hike of my own in 2002.  For my first
> section I chose WA section J from Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass - 75
> miles
> in 5 days.
> Because I'd been listening to experienced people for a couple of years I
> kinda sorta knew what to expect so I didn't make any glaring errors, but
> book learning is not at all the same as actual experience.  I vividly
> remember the first day of that section hike.  Starting from Snoqualmie
> Pass,
> the Kendall Katwalk, the gorgeous ridgewalk beyond that . . . I was in
> heaven.  I was also not in great shape and it took me most of the day to
> hike 12 miles to the flank of Chickamin Peak where the trail turns south
> for
> a bit before Park Lakes.  I stopped and ate dinner there at about 5 pm - I
> cooked some couscous thing that I'm sure tasted fine but my body was so
> hammered and in shock from the beating of that first day that it was all I
> could do to choke down each mouthful and not vomit.  I started to panic a
> bit, thinking, "I can't eat!  What am I going to do if I can't eat!  I'm
> stuck out here in the middle of nowhere and I can't eat!"
> After some food and rest, though, I did feel a bit better and set out to
> finish the last 4 miles to Park Lakes where I planned to spend the night.
> Walking through the boulder fields on Chickamin Peak, I saw marmots sunning
> themselves on rocks, then heard them all whistle shrilly and disappear as a
> bald eagle glided over the ridgetop and began circling the area looking for
> dinner.  I watched the marmots and eagle play a deadly but beautiful game
> hide-and-seek as I walked along in the warm glow of the evening sun.  It
> was
> magical.  It was where I wanted to be.
> I've done a section hike every year since then and as I've gotten more
> experienced and more trail-hardened I've been able to boost my pace and the
> length of my sections.  I can crank out a 10x10 without much thought.  I
> have about half the trail under my belt now but some of my most vivid
> memories are of those five days 12 years ago when I was a newbie on the
> PCT.
> Eric
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