By Greg Hummel
WE; you, me, the trail angels, the PCTA staff, and all of the PCT trail community, everyone who steps upon the trail for a day, a weekend, a section or a thru-hike, anyone who gives a PCT hiker a ride, or a cookie, or a bowl of strawberries, or a cold beer on a hot afternoon, including all of the various PCT-related websites, everywhere a PCT sign resides (on paper, on the web, on the trail, at the trailheads) are “PCT Ambassadors”.
WE carry the responsibility of furthering the goodwill, kindness, community, scenic beauty, lore and history of the trail to the world and to those who follow in our huge footsteps. It is our responsibility to share the deep passion for the PCT that all of us have in our hearts with friends, family, twitter, facebook, linkedin and other associates.
Every step we take on the trail, every smile we offer to another hiker or a weekend hiker on the trial, every “thank you” we praise the tireless post office worker or trail angel or convenience store clerk, is a HUGE part of our collective responsibility out there. Every graffiti mark or bullet hole on a trail sign, every charcoal message left on an underpass, every curse under our breath about some small trespass or unmet expectation in a trail town hurts all of the good that PCT Ambassadors do. So be a great PCT Ambassador, smile, say “thank you!” and “you’re so kind!” to all of the strangers that you meet, give a cheery “hello!” or “good morning” to weekenders, and take nothing, NOTHING, not one step, not one breath, not one drip of sweat or a mosquito bite for granted! YOU are the PCT Ambassadors and your behavior out there is all that the trail, the community, the experience is.
Hiking the PCT is not a right. It is an opportunity. It is a result of the good fortune that you have already amassed in your life. You find yourself with the grace of the time, the money, the support, the drive and the passion . . . at the trail head with a pack on your back. Northward, I say!