Monica: People's Questions
I experience a few different responses when people without hiking experience find out we are attempting to through hike the PCT from Canada to Mexico. It's either puzzled: "OOOOOOOOOH. Wow. For five months???? How long is it?" Or it's effusively positive: "That is so cool! I wish I could go! What a great thing for your family!" It's a mixed bag, and I can understand both. After that's over, there are some questions that always come up.
Q: "Are you staying in a tent for five months?"
A: Yes. Except for the very occasional hotel stays in towns along the trail, we will be sleeping in our tents. We are just preparing ourselves for a future tiny house.
Q: "What are you guys doing about school?"
A: I homeschool our three youngest kids and we will make up the time we miss when we get back. That means doing school over the summer and yes, everyone is going to hate it. The oldest is taking a year off, doing some online classes in the spring, and starting back at her IB program the following fall as a junior. She is going to graduate a year late. Yes, it's going to be weird, but she's told me on many occasions, that she thinks it's worth it. I think she's right.
Q: "Are you carrying a gun?"
A: Nope. But, we'll carry bear spray in certain places.
Q: "How do you get food while you're out there?"
A: In most stops along the trail there will be a place to buy the food it will take to get us to the next stop. When there is no way to get food, or the prices are too high, we will have food sent to a post office or general store in town. There is an amazing site we have found called Craig's PCT Planner that is really helping us know how long we will be hiking between resupply stops. It has every stop on the PCT, and the mileage between all of them. We already know we must send resupply boxes to ourselves in Washington. We are in the process of packing those with the specific amount of food we will need. From a small town named Stehekin to our next resupply, we know we will need 48 Snickers bars.
Q: "If you only eat trail food, how are you going to stay healthy?"
A: It's a question I've given a lot of thought. Fresh fruits and veggies aren't really what you want to stuff down into your backpack every day. Plus, all that water, makes them too heavy. My plan at this point is to have us eat as many fresh things as possible in town and for the first days after we leave a town. I'm also going to make us all take some green powder. The health profile on this stuff is excellent, it's light weight, and we can just put it in water and drink (or force down) our vitamins and minerals. I just don't want anyone to get scurvy or anything.
Q: "How are your going to take a shower?"
A: Well..... We aren't going to be getting tons of showers, but there are ways to stay clean-ish. Jumping into streams and lakes is one. Carrying wet wipes is another. A small container of Dr. Bronner's soap is going with me as well as some kind of microfiber towel. There's lots of water out there (except for Northern California and the desert). Again, clean-ish is what we're going for. I know it's sounds gross, and it is. But the lack of showers makes finally getting one a GLORIOUS experience.
Q: "Is Vince making you do this?"
A: I actually get this a lot! The answer is no. In fact, It was me who always had the goal to hike a long distance trail before I die. So, if you think it's a nuts-o idea, it's not just crazy Vince who's to blame.
Have other questions? Let me know in the comments!