Thru-hiking the Trail of Life

Last week I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail.

Okay, only 25 miles, or 0.94%, of the 2,663 mile-long trail that runs from Mexico to Canada (, but I did it.

Apart from the scenery, one surprise was the number of people on the trail that were thru-hiking–hikers that hike the entire trail from start to finish–and the stories they were telling me by their very presence.

After thinking about it for a few days, I realized thru-hiking–and what it takes to successfully finish–is an excellent metaphor for life.

  1. You can only plan so much. You eventually have to go and trust that you can figure out the rest on in the moment.
  2. Hikers were focused on the immediate goal of reaching a campsite or the next town, not the end destination.
  3. You can live on less than you think, but you still need a good meal and a warm bed to look forward to.
  4. Dedication and sacrifice get you successfully and safely to the end.
  5. Other people not thru-hiking will either think you’re amazing or delusional. Either way, people will notice you’re a little bit different.

I would definitely like to hike more of the Pacific Crest Trail. The countryside is beautiful, the air is crisp, and the mind blows in the breeze. But until then, I’m going to be a thru-hiker in my life. I might just have more fun.