A few days back I hiked the afternoon with Ball Buster and Slacker. They typically hike faster than my pace, but on that afternoon Ball Buster had painful muscle cramps that slowed them down. Ball Buster said he had never hiked in so much pain before but they had no options other than to hike through the pain. The High Sierra have limited entry and exit points and we were still a full days hike to the next exit point. As we hiked Slacker sarcastically, yet boldly, stated that you can't spell PCT without pain. I thought it was hilarious and true at the same time.
Every PCT hiker who has made it into the Sierra has pushed through their blisters, knee problems, and leg cramps. I think thru-hiking is counter cultural in the sense that hikers must push through their pain instead of fleeing from it. In today's world we are taught to do what feels good and avoid discomfort at all costs. Society searches for the path to happiness with the least amount of resistance. In doing so, society compromises for an imitation of the happiness that it originally sought after.
Almost daily, I question if the pain is worth it. For the past few hundred miles my body has felt strong with few physical problems, but I still carry the burden of the pack and experience discomfort in some form, every, single, day. For reasons I still cannot articulate, I still find myself compelled to push forward and follow after a goal that I don't even fully understand. In faith, I push through each day with the hope that I am one step closer to understanding the bigger picture of the journey.