Here we go (again!)

by Gillian Larson | posted: April 1, 2016

The PCT the first time was one of the hardest things I had ever done, and anyone can tell you that I swore the whole length of the trail that I would never do it again. Yet here I am, making a second attempt. I completely understand the question that so many people ask me, and that I continually ask myself: Why do it again?

But since being off the trail, I have realized that what the PCT gave me for those five months was a tremendous sense of being alive. Every moment was so rich—such a contrast with the monotony of regular life and such tremendous beauty surrounding me at every moment—that I felt I had lived a entire lifetime in the months that I was on my journey. It was the hardest, most beautiful, most painful, exhilarating, challenging and rewarding time of my life. Why wouldn’t I want to experience that all over again if I possibly could?

On a more practical note, I also hope to be able to translate what I learned on the first ride into a better, safer trip this time. Certain things I know I will have no control over and no way to predict or avoid. Downed trees. Trail washouts. Loose shoes on my horse. A sudden storm. That’s just nature—and the PCT—asserting itself. Learning to accept with grace what is outside my control and to roll with the punches and be creative and patient is one of the important lessons of the trail—and of life. Learning not to resent the universe, but to embrace it with open arms and enjoy every moment of what is truly the ride of my life.


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