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For some folks, hiking is an activity done for a couple of miles at a time. But for others, it’s a lifestyle. Those who trek the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) fall into the latter category. The PCT is 2,653 miles long and stretches from the border of Mexico and California, and it ends where Washington State meets Canada. Along the way, hikers venture through the desert, up mountains, and traverse seven national parks. It’s a grueling journey with a low completion rate; just 14% of all hikers attempting a “thru-hike” succeed in finishing the PCT. The hike’s reputation is what makes 71-year-old Pa'at’s completion of the journey all the more extraordinary.
The hiker known as Pa'at (most people go by nicknames, also called trail names) finished the last bit of the PCT with two younger hikers, Auti and Chris. The duo celebrated Pa'at's success via an Instagram post. “Not many people can say they’ve accomplished such an incredible feat—especially not at 71!” They write.
In the accompanying viral video, Pa'at approaches the trail-end marker and touches it, amazed that he had made it to the end. The septuagenarian then breaks into song. “I’ve been waiting… such a long time,” he begins. “Walking such a long way. Such a long way… just to be here, just to be here. Across deserts. I walked through rivers, I climbed mountains, just to see you. Just to see you. I’ve been waiting. Such a long time.”
For anyone who has ever dreamed of hiking the PCT, Pa’at’s feat is proof that they're not too late. “I wanted to walk this trail a long time” someone lamented on Twitter, “but now I know even if I don’t get it in my twenties or thirties I can still try and try again!
Auti and Chris met Pa’at in Stehekin, Washington, which is about 80 miles from the Northern Terminus—the marker for the end of the trail in the U.S. “We only knew him a few days before finishing, but he’s one of those people you instantly feel like you’ve known a lifetime,” they said. “He has a heart of gold, the kindest soul, and unmatched optimism and fortitude. Thank you for being such an inspiration to us, Pa’at!”
A 71-year-old hiker named Pa’at completed the grueling Pacific Crest Trail. Upon reaching the end, he broke into song:
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The viral video resonated with many people, who expressed joy for Pa'at and found inspiration for their own hikes.
This is absolutely remarkable. The PCT is on my bucket list, but at 47 and in pretty good shape I can be daunted by mere 20-mile sections of it. Zero chance I'll ever get even a tenth of it done in one trip. Just the part from Yosemite to Tahoe is a haul. This dude is a BEAST. https://t.co/TBlvIPnyMc
— Ryan Burns (@FtblSickness) October 4, 2022
This is the absolute best clip I’ve ever seen. I wanted to walk this trail a long time but now I know even if I don’t get it in my twenties or thirties I can still try and try again! https://t.co/sIHqNmM2Cu
— Brittany Baugher (@listen2hersmile) October 2, 2022
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