Danielle OFarrell

Four years ago, I woke up in an Appalachian Trail Shelter on the last day of a 5-day backpacking trip I was leading with Tufts Wilderness Orientation. I squirmed to a sitting position in my sleeping bag and looked out of the open side of the shelter. Of course, I sighed, the birds were chirping and the sky was blue and I just was not ready to go back yet. But back we must go because the incoming freshmen we were leading were due for their welcoming orientation. I rolled over to face my co-leader and one of us voiced what we were thinking, What if we just didn’t go back? What if we just did this? And that was the beginning of my thru-hiking dreams. I kept playing with the day dream and then this year I realized, wait a minute… I could totally do this. So here I am, I am 24 and about to attempt a thru-hike to the Pacific Crest Trail! This trail goes from Mexico to Canada, entering six different North American ecozones and passing through the whole length of my home state of California. I graduated from Tufts University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Child Development and a Dance minor. The following year I worked in New England as an environmental educator and outdoor educator with Christodora and this year in San Francisco I work as an education specialist for Save Nature teaching conservation science and as a sales specialist at REI. And now I am heading off, to immerse myself in the world of nature and biology, a world I have loved since childhood and a world fear is too often forgotten. I am heading off to do a very simple thing–I am off heading off to walk.