Reflecting on my trip
Well it has been a little bit over three months since I have been home and have been really taking my time adjusting back to real life here in Seattle. In case anyone has not seen it already, you can go to http://pcta.org/about_trail/miler_list/ and you can see my name where it will be for history for all to see my accomplishment of the previous months this year.
When I started out on the trail, I honestly had a pretty big head about what I knew from my Outward Bound trip in 2003. I thought I knew what it took to go out back packing, and maybe I did, but I had no idea what it really took to be a thru hiker, definitely not for any trail similar to this 2667 mile behemoth staring me in the face. When I left though, I had a plan of only averaging near 15 miles a day, putting me home on October 4th, 2012. My third day out I was having to buy gear because I did not pack for anything that could happen, I was losing gear on the trail, I was hurting, I really was not ready for what laid ahead of me. It was a scary time for me looking back at it now. My 4th day of hiking I heard that my grandmother, the last of her generation in my family, was put into the hospital with pneumonia. I pushed myself far too hard that day and hurt my feet a lot.
I was very fortunate the next day to meet 4 guys that really made the beginning of my trip possible for me, and are a huge reason I was able to do everything that I did and not just give up in the first section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Voices, Salt Monster, Rubs, and Southern were the most influential people I met on the trail. Having Voices and Salt Monster with me for the first 200 miles, then Rubs and Southern with me all the way until Rae Lakes at mile 767 really helped me through the desert and through adjusting to thru hiking. It was completely unexpected, but was definitely just what I needed for me to be able to thru hike this trail. I owe so much to those 4 guys. Having people to camp with every night made things so great. But I knew that part of the reason I came out on the trail was to spend time alone in solitude to find myself and to reflect on my life, my past years, and to contemplate what was to come in my life and where I wanted to go, so I left Rubs and Southern to go out and find myself on the trail.
Heading away from those guys to hike on my own started off just fine the first day, but as I continued to camp alone every night, it got to be a little tough to be alone and not camp with people nearly as often. It made me really cherish every night that I was able to have people around. I became adjusted to hiking alone all day, but found that I really wasn't alone. I would spend a couple hours a day, literally, just talking with God. Thanking Him for getting me to where I was, for healing my body every night, for giving me the strength to push on, everything. I would thank Him for all the people in my life, my wonderful supportive girlfriend, my amazing family, my girlfriends fantastic family, all the hikers I met on trail. I loved being able to spend that time with God and be able to really feel Him in every step I took. I could have gotten hurt very easily out there, but that wasn't Gods plan for me. He called me to go out and hike that trail and I felt Him there with me the entire time.
God really showed me through my hike just what I can do! I never could have believed that my body could do all the things I did while out there on the trail. I still have a hard time believing it, and I walked it all! But to be able to adjust over time to walking all day long every day with 25-40 pounds on my back is amazing. By the end, walking 35 miles in a day felt like nothing, it was easy. It's something I'll try to never forget, that with constant training, a human body can adjust to anything and become very good at it, it just takes a lot of discipline!
I also came to realize that I can complete anything I put my mind to. I am a Gervais, and we are pretty steadfast in completing what we say we are going to do. For the rest of my life, I'll never forget this hike, and will always tell myself that I can make it through anything. I can make it through 3 years of school. I can make it through all the rough nights that will come once I have children. I can make it through so much. I really am so blessed to have God in my life, and also to have Corley in my life. I especially love that she was able to be the one who supported me through my hike. Having a girl like her who can be so supportive while I was away and being crazy like that is something I could never imagine finding in someone. It really shows me how much she will stand by me through anything in the future. She had hardly gotten to know me when I went to do this hike, and she still stood by me. I thank God every day for her.
While I was out on trail I spent a lot of time thinking about my future and what I wanted to do with my life. I have always known I wanted to be married and have children, but as far as work it has always been a tough decision. With all day long every day for 134 days, I had a lot of time to think about things. In the end, I have found that I want to become a teacher. I loved getting to teach swim lessons as a lifeguard, and have loved any time that I have been able to spend working with youth. I have found enjoyment with Chemistry and loved taking those classes in both high school and what I have completed of college so far. With this, I want to obtain my bachelors in chemistry and a secondary teaching certificate to teach chemistry. I've still got at least 3 years of school to go through, but it will be another journey for me to go through.
So I really grew up a lot on my 2667 mile journey, walking across the united states of america from mexico to canada and am so blessed to have been able to complete my hike, have met so many wonderful people on trail, and to have such amazing people in my life to support me in anything that I do. Thank you all for your support and your prayers! Now on to more journeys!!