The people you meet out on the Pacific Crest Trail are not the same people who left their friends and family behind (and not just because they are now homeless).
Seeing a photo of someone before (and oftentimes after) the trail is quite shocking – generally they are barely recognizable. Where is the filth? The exhaustion? The weather-worn skin? The hair? WHO IS THIS PERSON!?
The appearance of thru-hikers is quite distinct. For example, while stopped in Seattle I walked into a large, two-story bar in search of my fellow hikers. After not being able to find them for some time, I was approached by a server who said to me, “I think you're looking for those guys over there”. She was right.
I had lofty goals prior to starting the Pacific Crest Trail: write every day, take every side trip available, stretch in the mornings, teach myself Japanese – and all this while documenting every last-minute via photo and video.
Who knew that the fact I also had 2,660 miles to hike would pose a significant barrier to accomplishing any of these things.
After the first two weeks of hiking many of the aforementioned goals were abandoned in the interest of actually hiking the PCT. However, I did manage to capture a photo of my face every day of the trail (sometimes even twice in a day – I know, a lot of work).
The above video is the result of said picture takings. The person you see in the first frames is a far cry from the person you see at the end of it all.
Original music by: Sawyer Fox