Deciding to thru-hike the PCT.
"When & why did you guys decide to hike the PCT?" you ask. Good question.
For Scott, learning about the PCT and deciding to hike the PCT occurred nearly the same moment, in 1985. Unfortunately, he was just beginning his career at that time and though he toyed with the idea of quitting (nearly giving his father a coronary), better judgement prevailed (okay, so his parent's had learned a lot since Scott had moved from home) and he put the hike on the back burner for nearly 15 years. For Rachel, though she had known about the existence of the PCT, she never really put it on her "top 10 things to do before I die" list. She first thought about hiking the PCT after meeting Scott, and she has embraced the idea. After cycling across the United States together, we put a plan into motion that would put us on the PCT for a 2001 thru-hike. But when Scott broke his ankle in a mountain-climbing fall (an oxy-moron, to which Rachel just mutters, "moron") in 2000. We had to put those plans on hold until this year (2002). After two surgeries, and fully recovered, Scott (at 42) and Rachel (at 31) are now ready to go.
You would have to know us to know that a PCT thru-hike is really a 'no-brainer'. We have tons of reasons for doing this thru-hike. We won't bother you with all the gory details, but rather, offer the short version. We both love the out-of-doors, we both love a challenge, we both love backpacking, and ... the timing was right (Rachel is in the midst of a career change and Scott is ready to start checking off 15-year-old dreams). With these shared philosophies, love of adventure, and goals, the hike just makes sense.
Not that we're superstitious or anything, but sometimes it's possible to feel the 'flow' of life or karma that's around you. Sometimes small events work against you and you can't shake the feeling that you're swimming upstream or "The Gods" are conspiring against you. Likewise, some events seem to point out that you're 'in the groove' and you're doing the 'right' thing. Do you know what we mean? It's like that for us with this hike. Rachel was going to take a 2-year leave of absence from work to do the hike, commencing April 1, 2002. Then her employer began laying off personnel. Wouldn't you know that they offered a voluntary departure package that was so enticing that it made more sense for her to quit, rather than take a leave? And the date of the voluntary departure? March 29, 2001 ... 2 days before her original personal leave date! Uncanny. And she was thinking of a career change ANYWAY. Is this confirmation that we're doing the right thing? We think so! (Are we supposed to throw salt over our shoulders now? Or is it knock on wood? Oops ... sorry, Gods!)