Completing The PCT | PTD Post Trail Depression

When it’s over…

When it’s over and you finally get home. You can hit the PCTA.ORG website and hit the page for people that have finished and completed the PCT. You can find that page here. You can support the PCTA and make a donation that helps to support the efforts in keeping the trail maintained and preserved going forward. If you let them know that you finished the entire PCT they will send you a medal and also a certificate. You get added to the 2,600 miler list also. You can find the list of people that have completed it here.

As of writing this blog post, 101 people have completed it more than once and 8,336 people have completed it.

Getting back into real life…

Getting off a long-distance trail can be challenging. You are so used to sleeping where you can find a spot and getting up in the morning in a different place each day. Somewhere beautiful and quiet and away from the constant notifications on your phone and people pulling you in all directions. You might be broke and have to get working again to pay off some bills and credit cards.

For some… going back to work is difficult. You miss the easy life where you just worry about where you will get water from and what you will eat on trail. Trail depression is real. Missing some people from your trail family is hard since they won’t usually live near you. Working 5 days to get 2 days off is hard. You daydream and get depressed. You see people hiking on Instagram and people will take some time and post photos that they could not post on trail and that will be a bummer.

You might have online Zoom Meetups with your Tramily and that will help. Catch up with old pals. You will engage on the FB forums and give advice to new hikers planning on hiking it the following year. You might join a thru-hiking community online like Thru-r and connect with people missing the trail via the alumni online Zoom meetings and also the regular chat for new hikers.

You might start thinking about doing the AT or CDT and wonder if you could do a triple crown.

I wonder what I will feel like being 53 and probably in great shape compared to my younger basketball playing days. Will I want to do another hike with my kids? Would my Son want to do one after watching his Sister attempt the PCT?

For me… since I’m doing this as a goal for myself before I’m too old… I want to take the time with my Daughter to spend this time with her. For my Son, we are planning a 4-6 month North American road trip in some sort of van and that will make me a dirtbag again and a travelling homeless person seeking adventure and getting into nature. Our plan for this is 2025. But I could see myself continuing to live Vanlife after that, where I can work and save more money and get out and camp and travel and explore with someone and my kids.

Here is an article from The Trek on Post Trail Depression.

Outside Magazine’s article can be found here.

ZPacks Article on it.

NomadHiker also has a great article with some YouTube videos.

Trust the Trail Podcast has a episode about it below:

Since we are going to interview some hikers that have completed the PCT… we should ask them about how they dealt with coming back into real life and back to work. As I am older, I could really see myself reflecting on life, the relationship with my kids and making the most of the days I have left on earth.

hmmm… is the CDT be the best choice for thru-hike #2 or is it better to do that one last and attempt the AT if I feel that I have another one in me? Will I get hooked? With Chantal get hooked? It’s interesting how that will shape her into the woman that she will become.

Time will tell 🙂

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