October 7, 2013 will always be a special date for me. It was the day I completed the hardest thing I’d ever attempted in my life. It was the day I faced snowstorms, lost snowshoes, slid down bus-sized washouts, found myself lost in a whiteout, and was saved by the trail gods when my GPS miraculously started working again – remember? If not you can relive the experience here.
I arrived at the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail alone after 176 days. I never knew if and how I would make it to the end, until those wooden posts came into view and I realised I’d actually arrived.
That was five years ago today, and it feels as though everything and nothing has changed since then. The PCT taught me what I was capable of, the power of nature, the beauty of simple living, and the importance of community. It taught me to trust in the universe, demonstrated the best of the human spirit, and showed me that anything is achievable, one step at a time.
Keeping my blog introduced me to my passion for writing, and when I finished the trail in 2013, many people urged me to write a book about my experience. I’m happy to report that I am, and am currently in the midst of draft four having started writing back in May of 2014.
Back then I realised I had to put pen to paper to make sense of it all, and my first drafts were more like therapy than articulate prose. But if I thought hiking the PCT was the hardest thing I’d ever done, writing a book about it knocks that out of the park. Imagine hiking a section of trail, and then going back to hike it again a hundred times over just to make sure you didn’t miss anything. I’ve continued to hike the PCT on paper over the past five years, and I find it amazing I still have the energy to keep going. The story never gets old, it’s just taken me years to refine my skills so I can give the characters and events the credit they deserve.
I’ve kept videos diaries of my writing process since the beginning, and am going to start posting them on my new Muk Muk YouTube channel (to which I have zero subscribers to be sure to sign up), in the hope that by the time I post the last one, I might have reached the end of draft four and be ready to send it to a publisher. I hope these videos will help other wanna-be-writers like me suffering through their own personal hell. Writing is just like hiking the trail, with moments of great beauty interspersed with pain, suffering and an insatiable hunger to be finished. I look forward to sharing the experience with you, and celebrating the moment I cross that border for the very last time.
Writing a Memoir – Video 1 – The Beginning
38 thoughts on “5 years later I’m still hiking the PCT”
Hi Muk Muk,
Thanks for telling your story. The PCT is a magical trail. I haven’t hiked it in person, but perhaps similarly to how you’ve been reliving it for the past 5 years, I’ve done the same – reminiscing about its natural beauty, the mountains, the meadows, and California in particular. It’s a real sense of nostalgia….anyways, hope you get a chance to hike it again someday (if you want to, of course).
Happy trails! JD
Thanks JD!! Part of me will always remain on that trail. I dream about returning all the time, but I also know the second time would be very different. There’s a lot more people out there now. Happy reminiscing, and I hope you get to experience the magic of the trail in person one day too! Muk
Just in case you forgot one of your registry entries, here is a picture from Mazama (use it as you like) â and from Otter (RIP).
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Visit my blog under unscrew.it
Hey Mars! Not sure how to view the pic but feel free to email it to my serialnomad address under my copyright info. Looks like you’re feet have been getting a work out from all your adventures! Thanks for sharing your blog with us too!
Can’t wait to read the book!
I can’t wait to finish it so you can!! 🙂
I always felt/hoped there was a book coming from you on this. Your videos during your trip were always so vivid, and real. You have a gift for making others feel they are part of your experience. I’m set to start my own PCT this coming march (finally!). One of my mantra’s when things are rough will be “come on I can do this..Muk Muk did it!” haha!…Gromit
Gromit!!! I can’t wait to follow your trip!! I’m so envious of your fresh eyes to the experience!! Be sure to share your blog with us. I really hope to be done the paper walk by then! Happy trails my friend! You might end up writing your own memoir after the experience! 🙂
I will absolutely share my blog with everyone who wants to hear my musings, and would love to hear your take on things as I go thru places you have gone. I am so excited to begin this part of my life journey. Told work I’m leaving to wander/wonder about the world….and maybe just maybe I’ll write something from a little different angle if I can manage that.
I can’t wait Gromit!! Congratulations for taking the first step. The adventure begins now!
Sooo excited for you/book! I didn’t realize you finished the PCT. Thought the cat stopped you. Huzzah!
Hahaha are you kidding?!! I don’t think anything could have stopped by the end. Except maybe a few feet of snow!
Look forward to reading your book.
Thank you! ☺️
5 years, dang 5 years! I can hardly believe that years and the successive years we’ve both lived. You are a gifted storyteller. I’m good you’ll be sharing with a broader audience. So many stories within stories. Anticipation, drama, romance, cliff hangers, lions, tigers and bears oh my!
Thanks Jan! It’s been such a pleasure reliving it all I have to say. I’ve been back in your house many times in my imagination! It’s people like you that form the heart and soul of that experience and made it so darn special for me. Sending all my love and hope that you’re well on the mend!
I’m 10 weeks out from injury and I have another month of physical therapy. I can’t wait to get back on trail and to my gypsy lifestyle.
I’m sure!! Rooting for you Jan! Your determination will get you back out there in full swing soon! X
I am so happy that you are writing your adventure….it’s hard, for sure….I know, because I am writing my biography…84 years of it….using Chrome Free writing app, keeps saving as you write…and editing is much easier than using a notebook while writing in “long-hand”….I wrote about my childhood and named it “Summer”…and wanted to include in my Bio…but, shoot, I couldn’t even read it very well….so writing can be really hard….BUT, OH, HOW amazing your story will be….You have a gift for writing….though tough in the style other than Blogs….I believe in you….I can hardly wait, sweetie, and to read it will be a thrilling adventure as I go with you again on the PCT…Loving you….Barbie, here!!!
Oh Barbie I’m so excited to hear you’re putting your life onto paper! I can’t even imagine trying to chronicle 84 years after struggle with only 6 months of life on the trail! I’ve learned so much from the struggles of writing over the past five years, but I’ve used all the same lessons I learned on the trail to carry on, one step as a time, as you will. Sometimes it just takes one person who believes in you… so know that I have absolute faith in you and your story and understand the the time it will take to tell it. Enjoy the journey my friend! Muk x
Hi, again , sweetie….I forgot to ask for signed autograph in the book you are writing….would just treasure it!!! Love, Barbie , here
Of course!!! You got it!! Xx
Speaking from experience, I agree.. writing a book is hard! I know I went over my draft at least 100 times. Kudos to you for continuing to challenge yourself and her telling your story! Can’t wait to read it!
You know exactly what I’m talking about, though you managed to publish yours a lot sooner than I have!! The things you’ve been able to accomplish are nothing short of incredible Patti, and your story continues to shine its inspiration on me! Thank you!! I hope you’ll write another some day!! 🤗
Can’t wait….hoping for a signed edition, my Friend!!
You betcha!!! All my love Judi, I can’t wait until our paths cross again! X
Please do let me know where or how can I get your book as soon as you finish and publish it. Reading your posts has become my favourite English lesson.
Big big huges from Spain.
Soon as it’s finished and available I’ll be posting it all over the internet don’t you worry!!
The emotion of your arrival (on the viewer) feels as fresh today as it was five years ago. To be so elated and yet torn because that experience had ended must have been the most incredible feeling. Following the new channel and progress to the long awaited book. Go Mukky!
Thanks Rex! Living through all those emotions again, multiple times, has certainly been a journey of its own! I’m sure leaving the book behind when it’s done will be equally as hard as saying goodbye to the trail!
I recall the post of the mountain lion encounter….a gripping night
That’s certainly a hard one to forget I assure you!
That video of five years ago of your arrival was amazing. To see you walking to the end and waiting for those wooden posts to come in sight, my own emotions got hold of me and there weren’t dry eyes. The journey you had made was just incredible. Such a determination, achievements, experiences, friendships, love of life and nature, it all was a part of you.
You chose some lovely quiet places to start your writing. This is another project to go through and with your determination we all will be reading about your experiences on the trail. Success my darling, I am proud.
Love you, Mutti xx
Thanks Mutti! Your beautiful words and support are just as valuable to me now as they were on the trail! Thank you for always believing in me! Xxx
Can’t wait to read to your book. Are you going to include a section on what you have been up to since completing the trail as you have been on some amazing adventures since then?
Hey thank you!! Post trail might be the sequel. I’ve got so much to say just about the PCT my first draft was 250,000 words!!
Greaat read thankyou
Thanks for your feedback! 🙂