PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s not just talk for Troy and his 23-year-old son Jack.
“The hardest thing was telling people at the office this is what I'm going to be doing. And I kept that under wraps because if I tell people...I have to do it,” said Troy with a smile.
He loves the outdoors, his three adult kids also love the outdoors. They’ve explored and adventured for years, but it hasn’t always been a family tradition.
“My father passed away 33 years ago at the age of 60,” Troy said. “And I decided I had to do something big when I turned 60 so I did not fall into that category. That's where it started.”
Troy will turn 60 years old soon, and he has been planning his thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail for six years. He and his family were hiking a trail in Yosemite National Park when they crossed paths with a PCT thru-hiker. After that, the seed was planted.
“My dad, different generation, worked a lot, right?” Troy said. “And I didn't have those opportunities…it's really cool. Jack said, ‘hey, can I go with you?’ And like, yeah, you bet!”
In 2017 they backpacked the John Muir Trail in California, most of which runs in stride with the Pacific Crest Trail. Last year it was the Wonderland Trail, the 93-mile trail encircling Washington’s Mount Rainier. Both Troy and Jack know this trip will be a completely different beast.
“The number one thing is safety. If we get into a situation where there's too much snow or the river crossings are too swift, we're going to improvise. We'll go around or we'll flip,” Troy said. “What I have wanted to concentrate on is just to get my feet okay. I feel my body's in good shape…we can train along the way and he's young he can get his hiking legs quickly,” added Troy pointing at Jack.
“I graduated about a year ago now and…basically packed up everything and headed out for something different,” Jack said. “If you’ve got a dream or you want to do something, you can. You have that option.”
In their own ways, Troy and Jack are entering new seasons of life. There will be no shortage of quality times for the two of them. Six months on a trail will do that. Whether they complete their hike or not, once they get off-trail, Troy sees it all as a new beginning.
“I'm planning on a time to reflect. To think about what I want to do the next 30 years or how that looks for the next 30 years,” Troy said. “It's a new starting point. Yeah, it's not an endpoint…”
Thru Their Eyes is a series by Let's Get Out There reporter Jon Goodwin. Let's Get Out There airs once a week on KGW's 4 p.m. newscast and The Good Stuff, which airs Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m. Follow along on the PCT hikers' journey with updates on Jon Goodwin's Facebook page.