They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
It's an adage that, right now, I am feeling quite acutely. I've taken some small steps so far -- covering none of the actual distance, but moving forward in my preparations. And if all goes as planned, this summer, I'll be walking those thousand miles.
Actually, about two and a half times that.
Starting sometime in April, I am going to head south to the Mexican border, begin hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and ... keep going. If I am among the lucky, prepared and persistent few who make it to the other end, I will cross the Canadian border in early autumn. This is known as a "thru-hike," and covers 2,650 miles of the western United States' loveliest terrain.
I've been dropping some hints of this epic adventure here and there in my journal for the last several months. I've been meaning to make a friends-locked post explaining myself, but never found both the nerve and the time to tackle the subject head-on.
But now, the big thing that has kept me from a public announcement is no longer a factor. I have turned in four weeks' notice at the Journal (well, actually, seven, since they asked me to delay my departure a bit), and I don't have to worry about word leaking back to my employers secondhand.
This means two things: One, as the clock ticks down, my journal will become a public chronicle of my planning and of the trip itself. And two, since I'm quitting my job for this ... it's on.
I've been making vague preparations for years, and specific preparations for months, but that one act of giving notice has crystallized the whole trip. It's really going to happen. I'm really going to take this hike.
This post is just another one of the first steps toward my journey. There's too much to be said about the trip to get it down here all at once, but explaining it begins with the basics.
Next step, since there are a dozen questions I've heard already and anticipate hearing again, is a FAQ about the trip. For now, I just want to get this out onto the Internet so that I don't hold back the announcement any longer.