Translations available

Finding my way on the Pacific Northwest Trail

A young man hikes 1,200 miles through the pacific northwest in search of answers to deeper questions in life.

Alex Maier

It has been five years since my thru-hike on the Pacific Northwest Trail, and I’m still trying to figure out how to talk about it.

People say things like, “Wow, that must have been fun” or “I wish I had time to do that.” They look confused when I can’t give them a simple explanation of what it was like. After all, it was just a really long hike—how hard can that be to talk about? It turns out that hiking was only a small part of the experience on the 1,200-mile-long hike. I wish I could parse it down into a quick conversation, but a lot can happen in three months.

I had just graduated college with a degree in digital cinema. I knew I wanted to make outdoor films for a living, but I had no idea how to turn my dream into a career. I decided I needed to test myself, to figure out if I had what it takes to pursue that dream. I would thru-hike a long trail and make a film about it—that seemed like a good test.

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