I don’t know if it is because they are excited to be meeting someone thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, or if it can simply be attributed to a lack of logic within our society, but the questions asked by people you meet along the PCT are quite absurd (and they are incredibly frustrating and annoying once you have heard them for the hundredth time).
NOTE: You must answer these questions (literally) every time you interact with someone who is not a thru-hiker, and so despite them being perfectly legitimate questions, you get incredibly sick of answering them.
WHEN DID YOU START?
I started on May 17, 2013.
WHERE DID YOU START?
I started in Campo, California at the US/Mexico border.
YOU’RE DOING THIS ALL BY YOURSELF?
I started the trail alone, but I have met many other hikers along the way, and I am always aware of who is in front (and in back) of me.
WHERE DOES IT START IN MEXICO?
The trail does not start in Mexico, it starts in Campo, California at the US/Mexico border.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO PREPARE?
Physically? I got fat eating whatever I wanted, knowing that I would lose the weight. Logistically? Well, there’s a complicated answer there.
IS THE TRAIL WELL MARKED?
Generally, yes, the trail is better marked than I would have expected. However, there are plenty of opportunities to get lost, and plenty of stretches that offer no marking whatsoever.
DO YOU CARRY ALL YOUR (FOOD FOR THE ENTIRE HIKE) WITH YOU?
I literally don’t know what to say to people when they ask me this. My first reaction is to push them down a flight of stairs. Are they really so incapable of thinking before they open their mouth? Do I carry enough food with me to hike all the way from Mexico to Canada? It makes me angry just thinking about someone capable of asking such a thing. Next question.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR SLEEPING?
What do I do for sleeping? This is almost as bad as the food question. Every night I press a button on my locator beacon, and a helicopter comes to airlift me to the closest town where I stay in the nicest hotel available (and have food brought me while I enjoy my daily massage, of course). Oh, wait, no I don’t. I sleep on the ground in a bag of feathers. What the hell were you expecting? Next question.
WHAT ABOUT BEARS?
Bears? What about bears? What does that question even mean?
ARE YOU CARRYING A GUN?
Why? Why is this one of the first things people think of asking PCT hikers? For the last time, no. I am not carrying a gun (nor do I know of anyone on the trail carrying a gun). Tell me why I need a gun. To shoot aggressive animals? To shoot people? To hunt?
SO YOU ARE WALKING THE ENTIRE TIME?
Are you asking me if I ride on the backs of wild animals while out on the trail? If I am actually just driving between Mexico and Canada? If I hike without sleep, without breaks, and without stopping until I reach Canada? What…?
HAVE YOU HEARD OF THAT ONE BOOK…?
That book, ‘Wild’? Yes, I have heard of it. Nobody can ever think of this book’s name, and for some reason, everyone thinks it is of interest to me. A book about some woman who hiked less than half of the PCT and how it made her a better person?
DO YOU NEED ANYTHING?
Of course, I need things. I am a thru-hiker, I always need things. Give me.