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Time on the Trail

Posted by davidrosslevy , 28 November 2016 · 551 views

hikingcamping backpacking community nature photography travel pct
My name is Dave, co-founder and editor of ProTrails.
In this role I spend a great deal of time hiking, and am privileged to experience a wide range of parks and wilderness areas across the country.
This year took me through the Colorado Rockies, southern Utah, Olympics, Cascades and Columbia River Gorge, among many amazing places.
While the mountains, lakes, red rock and rivers were captivating, I found the people I met along the way to be just as - if not more - interesting.
I generally keep to myself along the trail, but as the year went on and I was exposed to so many new places, I couldn't help but engage other hikers.
I was fascinated by what everyone was doing - their itineraries, goals and reasons - and especially by those who knew these areas well and had troves of knowledge to share.
Perhaps the most interesting and admirable people I came across were thru-hikers on the PCT. I spoke at length to dozens along their journey, and by the end of the summer I was practically asking for their autographs. 
These guys are the toughest hikers I've ever met - physically for sure, but mentally off the charts.
20-28 miles a day with 30+lb packs for 5-7 days in a row. 5000' - 7000' vertical in a day is just another day. Maybe a day off to re-supply then back at it.
Don't feel like hiking today? You gotta go. Weather's not great? Too bad. Running low on food and you're 42 miles from the next town? Well, better hustle!
While the physical feats are easy to quantify the mental ones are incalculable, and difficult to appreciate for those (like me) who have never endeavored such a task.
Whatever their reasons and personal circumstances were initially for taking on the PCT, it's clearly a transformative experience that will shape them forever - and they'll probably never look at the word 'distance' quite the same way again!
So, I'll use this first entry to thank everyone I met along the way for your insight, advice and invariably positive views on life, the outdoors and trail ahead. My experiences were certainly richer, and in some cases only possible, because of this community.
I'll be writing regularly, and welcome your comments and feedback.

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