When Curt first shared that he wanted to celebrate his 75thbirthday hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, I was not surprised. He has 50 years of backpacking experience and loves wandering in the woods. Then he added the 1000-mile goal. That surprised me! There were so many questions. Reading about the challenges faced by Bill Bryson in A Walk in the Woodsand Cheryl Strayed in Wildadded more. Their combined ages when they started their adventures was less than Curt’s. The conversations and planning began.
The first question was, can we (yes, we) physically do this? I had every intention of joining Curt on the trail whenever possible. He had introduced me to backpacking in 1980 and I, too, had fallen in love with the sport. But there was this age thing— for both of us. I’m 68, a child bride perhaps from Curt’s perspective, but not in the reality of miles traveled in life. Off we went for a week’s backpacking trial run on the 40-mile Rogue River Trail. Other than Curt falling down a cliff (well, only 20 feet head first) after his trekking pole collapsed, suffering minimal damage to his arm, and bouncing back on the trail, it was a beautiful adventure and a confirmation that we could still backpack longer distances with a bit of practice and preparation.
The next question was how much could I backpack with Curt and still provide support along the way? I was to be his ‘trail angel’ in PCT lingo. I’d be driving our 22’ Pleasure Way RV/van as the support vehicle. We had been traveling in it for years sharing driving responsibilities, so I was confident I could manage. It was to be my first solo trip, however! My job included carrying three months of food and other backpacking necessities and resupplying Curt between trail segments. There was the fine print of course— and other duties as required (grin).One was that I’d greet Curt with a big smile, a hug, and a cold beer when he came off each segment. Given that my young/old husband had survived another 70 to 100 miles of backpacking through the wilderness over challenging terrain, the smiles and hugs were really easy! My presence would also offer a comfortable break from the trail and provide the flexibility of changing mileage, timelines, and length of breaks if needed. It was an advantage that few PCT hikers have. Curt is spoiled rotten, what can I say.
Realistically, I would not be able to backpack much of the way without someone moving the van from Point A to Point B. However, we could backpack the first segment together from Mt. Ashland to Seiad Valley which would be a great confidence builder for both of us. The rest we would figure out on the run! Once we hiked into Seiad Valley, 6 days and 60 miles later, I was assured Curt could do anything he put his mind to! (So could I.) Still, waving goodbye to him as he left Seiad Valley on his first solo segment up through the Marble Mountains was hard. “If you don’t come out, Curt, I am coming in after you,” I told him and meant it. He had looked nervous and said, “Call Tony first.” I am geographically challenged when it comes to finding my way around in the woods. Tony is our Coast Guard pilot son who has participated in numerous rescue operations.
NEXT POST: When the unexpected happens along the PCT. Peggy’s perspective: Part 2.
39 thoughts on “Our Trek along the PCT… Peggy’s Perspective: Part I”
You both are amazing! A true inspiration🙂
Wishing you to conquer many more trails from now on!!
Thanks much, Christie. We always look forward to our next adventures. 🙂 –Curt and Peg
Terrific post, Peggy. It’s good to hear the other sides of the stories for a change. (No offense Curt…) But one question, How come you don’t pal around with Bone as much as Curt does?
Actually we hang out a lot….grin. There is also Bonetta and baby Bone, all complete with wardrobes, etc. Wehave quite a bit of fun with “the family.” Peggy
AH, you’ve restored my faith, Peggy!!
Thank you Peggy, it is really great to hear your side of the story too. You two are
a wonderful looking couple and it is inspiring to hear and see ( from photos ) how
positive you are.
That sort of trekking is a sport only for those who know how but it must be stunning.
As to hugging this sweaty and smiling guy … well, you seem quite happy with it. 😊 .
Wishing you all luck on this trip.
It was an inspiring trip in many ways for us and for others who have shared their stories with us. I found day hiking the areas where I dropped off Curt or waited for him allowed me to get a sense of the beauty for each segment of the trail….and I never got lost…grin!
You two are inspirational! I have not been a hiker in this life so I am enjoying following your stories to get a feel for the sport. Age is only a quantitative measure of our time on earth but the qualitative data counts double as it describes what you did with that time. I am turning 55 this May and your stories and achievements help me to look forward to my 60’s and beyond! Your first PleasureWay trip around the USA in the late 1990’s planted a seed in me and I cannot wait to start our 72 degree trip around this continent in our van!
Thanks, Michelle. We have always enjoyed sharing our adventures. For one thing, it let’s us relive them— both when we write them and add photos, and later when we go back and visit old posts. But we also love the fact that they encourage others to think, “Hey, I can do that!” We very much appreciate your feed back. –Curt and Peggy
You two are adorable.
Btw, Curt, I wanted to let you know my blog is now private. You’ll need to ask for permission so I can grant you access, that is if you want to read me. It’s easy, you’ll see.
Hope to see you there.
Adorable? Hmmm. At least one of us is. (Grin) Thanks, Bojana. PS, I sent off the request. –Curt
You both are, so active, and compatible and loving and lovable.
Granted. Thanks, Curt.
Ahhh, the epitome of the brave woman holding down the fort (so to speak)! Full of admiration for you. You go, girl! 😀
Thank you, Gunta! When Curt says, “What do you think…….,” I know a new adventure is in the offing. I love it!
Really good post, I enjoyed it. Curt must really like that blue shirt – I have one just like it!
Peggy says thanks, Andrew. And yes, that shirt is light weight, takes up minimal space, and maintains its warmth when wet. Perfect for backpacking! I was carrying two and would wash out one each night. It also dries fast! –Curt
Love, love, love this post! Peggy truly is an angel! It was nice to read about the hike from her perspective. I think she’s a little more cautious than you, Curt, as I would be, too. Having her be the “angel” and meet you after each segment sounds like a great way to hike the trail.Can’t wait to read more.
Peggy is laughing about the “more cautious” comment and shaking her head yes, Juliann. I would add, however, I have never suggested an adventure that she wasn’t up for! 🙂 Thanks. –Curt
Curt, Peggy is a natural writer! 😀 I loved reading her side of this humongous adventure and she paints a vivid picture of the trails / trials ahead, her concerns. The fun between you both is palpable and I’m laughing at her sense of humour! So many throughout the piece – hope she snagged some beers back! Peggy looks so relaxed and at ease in the photos, are you sure she was hiking?! More a model! The tree stump chair looks brilliant!
I’m in awe of you both … looking forward to the next instalment! 😀
“laughing at her sense of humor!” Many of our friends claim she has to have a sense of humor to hang out with me. 🙂 Laughing. I avoid taking pictures of her when she is grumpy, Annika. It would only get me in more trouble. And yes, we do have fun together. Laughing, teasing in a fun way, and sharing are all important to our relationship. Thanks. –Curt
Where would Curt be without you Peggy?! A perfect team and you always have smiles on your faces so it must indeed have been a lot of fun.
….and where would Peggy be without Curt? We are a good team, so lucky to have crossed paths. Yes, we laugh a lot….it seems natural! And, no, Curt is not allowed to take “grumpy” photos….of course, that would make us laugh too! Peggy
This post sure egged us on to keep doing our daily walk around our little river and town. Use it or lose it, they say! Thank you, Peggy for the inspiration.
I love that this post inspired you to keep walking! Thank you for sharing that. It is amazing what one can see on daily walks in familiar places. Peggy
My wife and I were so inspired by this post we hiked tonight. A mile or two, and back again. On flat sidewalks. To a restaurant.
Guess we have a ways to go before we catch up with you two.
Peggy and I are laughing at your comment, Dave! But a walk is a walk is a walk. Most people would get in their car and drive. –Curt
16 miles in just over 4 hours – pretty good going at ANY age, let alone 75! Inspiring stuff and to read about it from Peggy’s PoV was a nice bonus.
Most of those 16 miles were down hill or at least on the flat, Dave. And I had a real incentive. 🙂 Peggy suggested early on that she would like to write about her experience. I think that the trip was as valuable to her as it was to me. –Curt
Nothing better than having a focus, is there? 🙂
Peggy what a delight to hear your perspective! You really deserve the best wife ever in my opinion.A testament to the love for each other and the love of adventure you share. Wonderful!
Thank you! We are pretty fortunate to have found each other. Sharing my perspective reminded me of how difficult it is to write with a focus although I do keep a journal for our adventures. I appreciated the encouragement from Curt’s followers. Peggy
So enjoyable, these posts with Peggy. Wonderful.
Wow. I am nearly speechless when reading Your story! Very enjoyable reading. Thank You.
We are only day hikers, so our “adventures” is none compared with You. My hat. 🙂
North of the Arctic Circle 9
Thank you! Such encouraging words from so many….day hiking is always our backup plan! Peggy
Peggy, you have the sweetest smile around! No wonder Curt kept moving; he had to get back to you! What a great experience this was for both of you, and we all know you could have done lots more of the backpacking yourself – very selfless and supportive of you to be the trail angel instead of the hiker this time.
Thank you…..grin! I did miss being on the trail with Curt but we intend to make up for that this summer. it was an eyeopener to experience the trail support and community support along the way. it was a reminder of how many good, caring people are out there. Peggy