To physically prepare for my PCT hike I started running five to ten miles at least three or four times a week, and I also attempt to hike the Manitou Incline at least once a week. The Incline is an abandoned cog railroad line that literally runs straight up the side of a mountain on the edge of Manitou Springs, Colorado. The old line is only three quarters of a mile long, but it gains a dramatic 2,000 feet of elevation. In the last few years, hiking the incline has become quite popular; it’s not uncommon for me to pass more than a hundred people during peak hours.
During one hike I passed a man who was making slow and deliberate progress up The Incline. When I asked how he was doing he happily stated, between two deep gasps for air, that he was “livin’ the dream”. His response caught me a little off guard. As I rhythmically climbed up the trail I thought about this man’s response.
I realized I too was living the dream. My current situation is not my original plan or dream. I’m not the creative and well respected architect that I once wanted to be, but I find myself in the midst of a deep and meaningful season in life that exists beyond the American Dream. My current dream taps into something deeper than prestigious titles and economic stability.
I also realized that I have stepped out in faith to follow a new dream that is risky and difficult. I have always statically calculated my chances to succeed at any given endeavor, and if the odds weren’t in my favor I would always shy away in fear of failure. For the first time I have stepped out into the unknown, and I have confronted my unhealthy fear of failure. To the best of my knowledge, if I am successful in thru-hiking the PCT I will be the first person with Cerebral Palsy to complete any of the Triple Crown long distance hiking trails. In the end, I have decided to live the dream in hopes that The Trail will not break my heart.