I am officially a PCT hiker!

Warning: this is a brutally honest account of the trail. If you would like a fairytale, please put down this newspaper, go to your local public library and open up a copy of “Cinderella” to read. 

iPhone catastrophe

I imagined my first few days on the trail would be difficult. I could not imagine how uncomfortable I would be in an overwhelming amount of ways.

The first day started with excitement as I woke up with 20 other excited hikers at a trail angels house. My trail morale was quickly damaged when my iPhone died on the car ride to the trailhead. Now there wouldn’t be pictures for me to mark my first step or a picture of me signing the trail registry.

I wouldn’t be sending emails in towns and the ability to call close friends and family on days my morale is low. My phone was also my GPS and main map guide. Thankfully, I brought printed out section maps as a backup. I was crushed.


Onward with the first day. Heat was soon at the heels of my upward climb and my pack was weighing me down. By noon I was exhausted and grumpy from the heat and running on low sleep (too excited to sleep the night before).

My hiking buddy and I took a long break, laying down in the dirt and taking off our shoes. Blisters already forming, the discomfort was setting in. Shouldn’t I be able to take this all in stride? Its only day one.

I questioned for the rest of the day if I was the kind of person who is cut out for this kind of adventure. Maybe I am past my adventurous stage of life. Maybe I would be happier just to enjoy the comforts of modern living of a bed, clean water to wash my hands, somehwere to properly sit to rest my aching feet, and a home to store my belongings instead of schlepping it all on my back.

Am I a woman who enjoys setting up my tent and sleeping bag after a hard day, only to rush to cook my dinner and “clean” up before dark? I couldn’t tell you. 

Not a fairytale

A few days in now, numerous foot blisters, dirt all over my body and in my nails, wearing the same stinky clothes, my shoulders already deforming to my pack load — I still can’t tell you for sure if I am the kind of person who does a multi- month hike.

I do know I am stubborn. I have a strong drive and I put one foot in front of the other after difficult, painful days. No, this is not a fairytale adventure filled with comfort and ease. This is real life on the PCT.

Follow Cle Elum resident, Elizabeth Ketterer, as she shares weekly with The Daily Record about her preparations for, and five-month journey on, the Pacific Crest Trail.


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