It’s the Journey

Family, Friends and Followers,

It’s that time of the year again and I’m getting ready to do some hiking! This will be year 3 on my quest to hike the PCT. It will be the first year that I start hiking without Donna.

As some of you may remember, in 2018 Donna and I started from the PCT Southern Terminus at the Mexico border – we were so excited!

In 2019, after Donna had recovered from a couple of knee procedures, we returned to the trail near Wrightwood (mile 370). This is where I had ended my hike the year before after Donna had left the trail at Big Bear City.

Cowboy John is our Wrightwood Trail Angel

We had so much fun on the trail and each day was its own adventure. We were challenged physically, met other interesting PCT hikers and saw and experienced beautiful wilderness areas that most people never see or experience. Every day was about where the next water source was, what was around the next bend or over the next hill and where would we make camp. Looking back it’s clear that when we hike together it’s about “the journey” and not at all about the destination.

Near Acton, CA

Unfortunately, Donna had to leave the trail each of those years because of knee problems. Damn those damn knees!!!

Over the last two years, Donna has has had two arthroscopic surgeries to repair meniscus tears, an injection of stem cells, an experimental procedure at UCLA to treat osteoarthritis and a series of three injections of Orthovisc. All on her right knee! And none of these procedures have helped! We initially thought the stem cells were helpful but once Donna got back on the trail in 2019 and stressed her knee with some mileage it became clear that it hadn’t helped enough. She is now scheduled for a knee replacement in September.

Mile 200, 2018

In both years after Donna left the trail I continued hiking northward. In 2018, I only hiked for about a week before I realized that her “two feet” were missing. Last year, I continued hiking for about a month. Each year I knew immediately that hiking solo was a different experience than sharing the trail journey with a partner.

Near Lake Tahoe

A few months ago my oldest son Blake asked me if I was going to continue on the PCT this year. We chatted for a few minutes and I mentioned that I was going to try and finish California and make it to the Oregon border. He reminded me that life, including my PCT hike, should be about the journey and not the destination. I knew that!!! And suddenly it clicked … when I hike solo, I get focused on the destination – getting to the next camp, getting to the next town, getting to the next state. Thanks Blake!


So tomorrow I return to Sierra City where I ended my hike last summer. My focus is to enjoy the journey and to appreciate that at my age I can still get out on the trail and do this crazy hike. As my sister Melissa always tells me “stop and smell the roses Todd”.

Near Sonora Pass

Thanks for following!

PS: I can only update this blog when I get to a town and have WiFi so the next update likely won’t be for another week or so – I’ll be posting daily updates on Instagram @Trailwine

32 thoughts on “It’s the Journey

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