Hiker Intro

Why start a blog?

I’ve been trying to put my finger on what has inspired me to start a blog, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the reasons are more than one. I have a desire and hunger to share my experiences with anyone who is interested. I am inspired by those walking similar paths to by own, but I am also interested in learning from people who come from different walks of life.

How did I get here and where am I going?

I began my soul-searing journey in October 2016. I was overweight, unhappy, and suffered from an interesting amount of anxiety and depression. I had just moved to Colorado with my ex-fiance, and I decided to enroll myself in CorePower Yoga’s 200/hr, Hot Yoga Teacher Training Program. My yoga journey may not seem like it has a lot to do with the theme of this blog, but my practice and spiritual growth has allowed me to become the person that I am today.

Why am I touching on yoga?

  • This is where my search of physical fitness and emotional stability all came to light.
  • My yoga practice gave me confidence and helped me gather my thoughts in a healthy way.
  • It allowed me to learn a heck of a lot about myself and helped me interact with others while letting go of social anxiety.
  • This practice gave me the opportunity to not only lead classes, but to teach others about a practice that I fell in love with.

How it all came to fruition

Over the past three years, I lost around 45 pounds. It was a long and slow process, but I am finally physically confident in myself. My drastic weight loss was achieved with a combination of yoga, workout classes, hiking many miles, climbing, running, and changing my diet. I had an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise for so long, but I finally feel that I am in a positive place.

The past year and a half

I have always thought of myself as a hiker, but I don’t think that I fully knew what being a hiker meant until the summer of 2018. I had consistently hiked four to six miles at a time in the past, but became surprised when I was comfortably able to push my limits to a 14-mile day with 4,000+ feet of elevation gain. My hardest day hike yet was 26 miles with a helluva lot of up/up and down/down. This 26-mile day was unintentional because we may or may not have gotten very far off route. Our assumed 14-mile walk very quickly turned into much more. Thank all that is holy for topo maps. I learned a lot that day, and realized how important it is to carry extra food. Luckily, we had a water filtration system because I’m pretty sure we would have been fucked without it.

2018 was the year of my first backpacking trip, and coincidentally, when I discovered my love for 14,000-foot peaks. From May to September last year, I conquered Pikes Peak, Mount Sherman, Bierstadt/Evans, a solo ascent of Longs in RMNP, Kit Carson/Challenger Point, and Crestone Peak. I basically hit the ground running and nothing was going to hold me back or stop me. These 14ers included three class 3 scrambles and one class 4 climb.

This didn’t come easy, and took a lot of preparation. I had to attempt Crestone Peak twice because my climbing partner had gotten food poisoning on our first hike into the basin, and we also attempted Kit Carson twice due to wasting time getting off route on our first ascent.

The mountains humbled me, and I learned not to fuck around in the back country. I faced my fear of class 4 scrambling by free soloing the second Flatiron in Boulder multiple times. No, this isn’t very hard and is a pretty common route for your typical Boulderite, but learning that route gave me the confidence I needed to climb without a rope on an exposed face/ridge at 12,000+ feet.

I’ve spent a lot of time wandering around the San Luis Valley and hanging out in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Those flatlands and high alpine basins are some of my favorite parts of Colorado. I found peace in walking uphill, and waking up before sunrise to avoid the crowds has always been one of my favorite feelings. Watching the sunrise on those high alpine summits is a view that you have to see for yourself to truly understand.

Current adventures

This summer, 2019, has been a little different than the last. We had a deep snowpack left over from the winter so my 14er season didn’t start until July. I suppose I could have hiked in the snow, but I don’t have proper avalanche gear, Microspikes, or snowshoes. My ski setup is also only equipped for in-bounds (resort) riding.

My first big hike this summer was with my wonderful husband. We got married in April, and he will forever be my favorite hiking partner. We’ve hiked along the CDT near the Fraser Valley, and have hiked to the top of five 13ers, and six 14ers. We’ve also spent a lot of time trekking above 12,000 feet. It has been a blast and I’ve pushed my limits this year by cranking out miles as fast as I can. Some of our summits include: Colorado Mines Peak, Mount Flora, Mount Eva, Parry Peak, Square Top Mountain, Byers Peak, Mount Cameron, Mount Democrat, Mount Lincoln, Mount Bross, and Grays/Torreys via Kelso Ridge. We’ve also spent a lot of time wandering around the Fraser Experimental Forest, and made it up to the Devil’s Thumb. Our summer/fall hiking adventures for 2019 are far from over.

This whole blog will revolve around my 2020 plans to hike the AT. It will follow my training process, and I will be going over things like our planned stops, gear choices, trail food, and more. I’ve done many day hikes, and have gone on quite a few backpacking trips, but this will be my first thru-hike, and I couldn’t be more excited.

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Comments 6

  • Maria : Sep 16th

    Excited to hear more about your adventures

  • Jordyn : Sep 16th

    You are an inspiration!

    • Alicia Pacalo : Sep 17th

      Thanks for reading, lovely!

  • Erica : Sep 17th

    You are inspiring. And smart.

  • Cecil Johnson : Sep 19th

    Great story! Hope to see you on the trail.

    • Alicia Pacalo : Sep 22nd

      Thanks for reading!


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