|Three Finger Jack, just N. of Santiam Pass in Oregon|
My last big hike was in 2019, with the following years interrupted by Covid, of course, and also by the passing of three close family members. It wasn't until a few month ago that I started to seriously plan to get back on trail.
As soon as I started training, a flareup of osteoarthritis in the spring of 2022 put me out of commission for about six weeks until I was able to get a shot of cortisone in my right knee in the first half of June. After some careful training I'm now looking forward to attempting Santiam Pass to Cascade Locks in Oregon, Donner Pass to Sierra City in California, and Tuolumne Meadows to Carter Pass in California. If all goes well this will complete a section hike of the PCT that I technically started in 2016, mostly liked in 2017, and then did the Sierra section of in 2019. So, if I get these sections hiked this year it will complete my second hike of the PCT. No guarantees of course that my knees will hold up, or that we won't have fire closures in those sections.
How is having a goal like completing a PCT hike meaningful or useful? Even an arbitrary goal engages our natural goal-seeking impulse. You could say that an arbitrary goal is a kind of mental hack to engage one's motivational energy, which then leads to activity.
I would also be happy doing almost any other hike. I'm looking forward to being on trail however arbitrary the reason. ^-^