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  • Writer's pictureBlaine Hoppenrath

To the Class of 2020

About a year ago I was so ready to start the PCT. I had no idea what I was in for. I knew that I would meet people, but I didn’t know that I would meet some of my best friends. I knew that I would get to see some scenery, but I didn’t know how much those views would mean to me. I knew that I was going to have to learn some knew skills, but I didn’t know how amazing it would be to summit Mt. Whitney with those skills.

I sit here today and my heart breaks for everyone who was getting ready to start their PCT journey in the next few weeks. I honestly don’t know what I would have done. I was mentally ready for a change in my career, I had moved all of my belongings to a storage unit and had just wrapped up a good-bye weekend with some of my best friends. I needed the trail. I needed the adventure. I needed to finish something that I had started.

The magnitude of the trail has dwindled over the past six months. But its impact on me has not. There are so many people that I just can’t imagine my life without. I can’t imagine life without Diamond, Big Gulps, R2, Anita, among dozens of others. I just can’t imagine what that life looks like now.

It truly was a privilege, one that I hope is not lost on me, to not just have attempted the trail but finish. To make it 2,650 miles and not be forced off by snow or fire, money or injury.

To the PCT Class of 2020:

I desperately hope that you can find a way to make it through this year. That you can figure out how to make it work so you can give it a go next year. I hope that you get the opportunity to follow your wildest dreams.

I hope that you get the opportunity to get a blister so bad you actually gross out your fellow hikers. I hope that you get the opportunity to get rain day after day after day in the desert and be woefully unprepared because “It never rains in the desert.” I hope that you get the opportunity to post hole so many times that you have to quit for the day because you are hiking at a blistering 0.5 miles per hour. I hope that you get the opportunity to wake up in a lake because you picked the worst spot to camp and halfway convince yourself that you are going to quit when you roll into Trout Lake.

And I hope you get the opportunity to spend less than five minutes at the Northern Terminus because even though you have worked for 5 Months and 3 Days to get there, it’s just too fucking cold to stand there for any longer.

With the announcement of the PCTA this morning strongly recommending the Class of 2020 postpone their plans, it’s easy for me to say “be socially responsible” but it’s not helpful. I get a pit in my stomach just having to think about making that choice. I sincerely wish you the best.

Love, Yose

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