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[pct-l] Knock, knock ... can I join you?

Hi, everybody. 

I haven't been lurking for long, but I figured I'd make my presence known and say hello. I'm Deb, the hiker sometimes known as Ramkitten, from the year 2000 group of A.T. northbounders. Four years later, I still talk about my journey from Georgia to Maine almost daily, and my husband, who stayed home to keep the income rolling in while I hiked for five months and three weeks, still makes a good show of being interested. (Actually, I think he truly is interested; we hope to do a long-distance hike together someday.) Anyhoo, my sights are now set on the PCT in 2006. Can't make a go of it before then, but that leaves me a good amount of time to learn and get my head and body trail-ready.

For my A.T. hike, I pretty much got in shape on the trail. I was familiar with a few areas, having hiked short sections, including the Whites. I'd participated in trail forums like this one (AT-L and what some folks refer to as the "other" list, on Wingfoot's site). I'd been to Trail Days, and the Ruck in Pennsylvania. And from all that reading, emailing, talking to those who'd done the trail, and doing bits of backpacking on the A.T., I felt pretty knowledgeable about what lay ahead, and didn't do much in the way of planning. No maildrops. No "schedules." Figured I'd figure it all out along the way. And I did. And I had the time of my life.

But from what I've read so far of journals and this list, I realize that the PCT will be a much different experience. I know that, this time, I'd better get my butt back in shape BEFORE hitting the trail. (It ain't nearly as outa shape as it was when I began the A.T., but in thru-hiker shape it sure isn't.) I'm still afraid of the same things I was before my A.T. hike -- lightning, falling from high places, things that lurk in the out-of-doors at night (and even some that lurk during the day) -- so I know I'd better get some skills down before doing the PCT -- ie. using an ice axe, glissading maybe. Maybe then I won't panic and freeze in certain hairy places (like those steep, snow-covered passes I've read about). 

So, anyhoo, I thought I'd sign up here and learn from you folks. I've read some of the archives and will read more, but if I ask very redundant questions you've already discussed and answered ad nauseum, I apologize ahead of time. But sometimes it's more fun to get answers in real-time, ya know?

Anyhoo (again), this isn't really a question at all, just something I was talking about with my husband, Steve, today. I was babbling about what I call "trippies," which comes from a combination of the words "trail" and "hippies," see. What I'm referring to--in what I guess isn't such a nice way ... but anyway--are folks who wanted to continue having the A.T. experience, so to speak, without doing all that dang hiking. They'd intended to walk the whole way, but, for one reason or another, decided they didn't want to or perhaps couldn't, so they'd get ahold of a vehicle and continue to move up the trail (near it, crossing it, sometimes on it), doing a little walking now and then, sleeping at shelters or campsites now and then, and doing a whole lotta hanging out in trail towns. Nothing wrong with that, but I was telling Steve how pervasive (or maybe I should say, popular) that practice seemed to be. And I was saying how the bond I'd had with some of those folks while they were still
 actually backpacking, seemed to evaporate very quickly. And how I actually got a bit annoyed sometimes, because I was in "journey mode," and they were more in a ... a ... well, it was definitely a different mindset. Don't get me wrong, I REALLY enjoyed the social aspect of the A.T., but it was more the one-on-one with those who were really into the journey, the trail, the whole experience, as opposed to just the social part and the "idea" of being out there. 

Well, to make my long-winded story shorter, I was telling Steve that there don't seem to be many -- if any -- "trippies" along the PCT. Perhaps that's because the number of long-distance hikers is smaller. Or because there aren't NEARLY as many road-crossings. Or because the towns and other resupply points along the way maybe aren't SO hiker-oriented and are generally farther from the trail. The PCT seems to be a real hiker's trail and, if one doesn't truly love all that walking and all the challenges that come with it, one probably won't stick around. I hope I don't sound like a snob, but I do hope that's true and remains true about the PCT. I loved my A.T. experience and do hope to hike that trail again, but I'm really looking forward to the differences the PCT seems to "offer." I'm a little nervous for some reason, but I'm gettin' excited!

Okay, enough babble from me for one night.

Deb (Ramkitten ... or whatever you want to call me) 

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