THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE TREK, WHICH YOU CAN READ HERE.
My fiancé, Miles, and I plan to begin our Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike in Campo in the spring. In fact, we just received an email from the PCTA that our permits were approved!
But there’s a chance that we may not make it to Canada together.
We may actually split up on the trail.
And by ‘split up’ I mean that Miles will morph into the Millennium Falcon and hit warp speed and finish days ahead of me.
Okay. So there won’t be a Han Solo in this story (I wish), but there is a chance of us finishing the Pacific Crest Trail solo.
Terrible Star Wars jokes aside, we do have a solid reason as to why we might make the split.
STOP Applying for Your Dream Job
Last year, Miles received his Master’s in Education and quickly found a 1-year position as a social studies teacher. About the time I decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, he was in the midst of applying for positions for this fall. But, as soon as I brought up the PCT, he stopped applying for his dream job.
We both knew the PCT was our next move.
The Split – Pacific Crest Trail-Style
You probably realize what I’m getting at here as to why we might have to end our hikes separately. While Miles had no problem giving up teaching this year, he really wants to teach again next fall. He is hoping there may be open positions at two schools that he would love to work at. So, if internet can be found in one of our trail town stops, it’s quite possible Miles will be submitting applications.
My first question to him was, “how the heck can someone apply for a job while living in a tent across the country?!” His reply was simple. He plans to have all of his materials ready to go on the web platform used for the application process and will submit when he finds applicable openings. If he is fortunate enough to secure an interview, he can take part in a phone or video call.
Miles is very dedicated to teaching and we know if it works out, it works out. If not, it’s not the end of the world. Our main focus is hiking and it will be a bonus if he’s fortunate enough to receive a remote interview.
Worst case scenario, if Miles does have to leave the trail for a job, he may cruise ahead and finish on his own. He is a much, much faster hiker than me, so I know that he could do it if he’s determined enough. If finishing for him is not feasible, he would simply hike as far as he could and then head home. It would be a sad reality, but he would be leaving one passion for another. And, it would just give him an excuse to go back and finish in 2019!
The Gear Situation
Just as we did on the Appalachian Trail we will be sharing gear between the two of us. Our shared gear includes our tent, cooking supplies, and water filtration.
Tent: Our possible PCT-split was the perfect opportunity to purchase a 1-person tent, so we did! We have wanted to purchase one for awhile in case one of us wants to go on a solo trip. So, we bought the same tent that we will be sharing on the PCT, but in a smaller size. That means one of us (probably me!) will carry the 1-person tent once we split and Miles will take the 2-person. We will of course have my parents mail us the 1-person tent when needed.
Cooking Supplies: Miles is dead-set on going stoveless if he can remain sane enough living off of wraps and Clif bars for dinner. While he’ll have the additional weight of carrying the 2-person tent, I will take up most of the cooking supplies.
Water Filtration: We are leaning towards each of us carrying a filter for the entirety of our hike. On the AT we carried one Sawyer; but, with the prospect of having to filter more water, we feel that a Sawyer for each of us will be a big timesaver. Not to mention, if we do need to split up later on, we’ll have our water filtration problem solved!
While we hope to hike as much of the PCT together as possible, we both accept the reality that we may not finish together.
And we’re just fine with that.