Hey guys!! Okay so I tried to update this on trail and had no luck. Let’s see if I can have better results with my laptop.
I left for my hike as scheduled because at that time it made sense to continue with my plans. I had a brief and amazing experience on trail. Meeting hikers from all over the world, and the buzz of excitement that happens when you plan a trip for a long time and are finally there. Fast forward a week later and things had drastically changed. On the morning of March 18th big chunky, wet flakes of snow began to fall. I was not expecting snow this early in my hike. I was with a fellow hiker, and when we saw the trail conditions getting much worse we decided to get a ride off the mountain. Our plans were to wait out the snow and then continue on with our hikes. I called a friend once I got to the hotel and he sent me a message via text.
“On March 16, a message was sent to all PCT long-distance permit holders around 5 p.m. MT. Acknowledging the difficulties in such a dynamic situation taking place right at the start of thru-hiking season, the PCTA says that while they cannot give a definitive answer as to whether to cancel or postpone a thru-hike, they are urging hikers to “exercise personal responsibility in (their) decisions.”
According to the CDC, COVID-19 has a longer-than-normal incubation period. Since an undetermined number of people can be carrying the virus without showing symptoms, they have the potential to come in contact with the virus without knowing it. As of now, the leading method to limit the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing, which includes avoiding nonessential travel.
Please think of the impact your choices have on others, and consider whether traveling during an unprecedented global health pandemic is the right choice.”-PCTA
This message was from the Pacific Crest Trail Association. It was hard to hear, but I knew the right decision was to head home. I immediately looked for the next available flight home. I didn’t feel like this was a choice. This had turned into a public health issue. I was able to get a flight home the next evening, and was able to get out of California hours before the governor issued the “stay at home” order.
This was part of the FaceBook post that I wrote in the hotel room before heading to the airport.
It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to be a “responsible hiker” and come home from my hike. As hikers we go from little town to little town. We rely on an Angel network to get the supplies and things we need like food, laundry and showers. We contact thousands of people over the course of a thru hike. We meet hikers from every corner of the globe. The people that help us with our hike are all kind strangers that welcome us into their cars and homes. A lot of the towns we come to are very rural and do not have the resources to deal with a medical outbreak. I will not endanger lives in order to have a fun vacation.
I want to thank each and every one of you for your donations and support of my hike. We are living in uncertain times. Be safe and care for one another. Sending you all love and light!
1 in 4 families is affected by mental illness.
HIKE for Mental Health is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded on the vision of a world in which everyone, including those who suffer mental illness, can find the simple joy of living.
Our mission is to alleviate the suffering of those afflicted by mental illness, eliminate the associated stigma, and foster responsible use of wilderness trails.
As an all-volunteer organization, we distribute 100% of contributions raised by our hikes.
- 80% funds scientific research to understand and treat mental illness
- 20% conserves national wilderness trails
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To learn more, visit hikeformentalhealth.org.
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