A Privileged Walk
Hola friends y Familia,
For those who don’t know me, my name is Maricruz Mosqueda. I was born in Zacatecas, Mexico but grew up in Colorado. The proud daughter of immigrant parents Jose and Hilda, older sister to Jose Jr, Gustavo, and Analucia whom I love very much! I am sure they love me too but think I’m bat shit crazy because my goal for 2017 is to through-hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
The first time I heard about the Pacific Crest Trail I was watching the movie, Wild. I know how cheesy that sounds, but my friend Doreen recommended it to me so I decided to check it out. If you have never seen this movie, then you living under a rock, but I’ll fill you in. It’s about a woman, Cheryl, who decides to hike the PCT without ever having backpacked before. Her journey is not only physical but emotional as well, it’s a finding yourself type of movie. The thought of hiking 2,650 miles from border to border seemed crazy! Especially for someone with no experience, regardless of this, she did it. So, why can’t I?
I, Maricruz Mosqueda, being of sound mind have decided that I will be attempting this 2,655-mile journey!
Summiting a mountain is great but seeing the smile on a child’s face when they first summit, now that’s a view.
Originally, I wanted to hike in 2016, but I received an amazing internship opportunity with Colorado Canyons Association (CCA). For those that have never heard about CCA, it is a nonprofit organization that works within three National Conservation Areas (NCAs). They promote outdoor education while also providing land and river stewardship opportunities.It’s an amazing organization and you should go check it out! Part of my work was to plan pilot programming for students with the focus being on low-income minorities. It was very special for me because I was able to share my love for the outdoors with kids who had never set up a tent or even gone on a hike before.
You sleep outside for fun
I grew up in a low-income home and English is my second language. We didn’t spend time or money on the equipment to go camping or hiking, it just wasn’t something we did. My parents worked hard to provide a warm home for us so that we didn’t have to sleep outside in the cold. Not to imply that my childhood wasn’t wonderful, it was just that our views on the outdoors were culturally different. Now that I am older, I have been able to take my family out more and it’s been wonderful to share new experiences with them.
They still are reluctant on me hiking the PCT, though, especially as a solo female hiker. They think that quitting my job and living out of a backpack makes me a “pendeja” that’s Spanish for moron. I know they don’t mean it, they are just scared and that’s ok because this is something new for them. This wasn’t the vision they had for their little girl when they migrated to America. It’s new for me too, and it is scary, but that’s what makes it exciting.
With that privilege comes great responsibility
My family and I migrated to the US when I was three. We did it like many others that came before us and how many continue to do so today: by walking. We walked for days because it was necessary. Now I am walking for fun because I have the privilege to do so.With that privilege comes great responsibility, but really, though. A while back I was listening to an NPR talk on Diversity and the outdoors. They talked about a study done by the University of Wyoming. It found that 78% of visitors to America’s national parks and forests are white, compared to 9% Hispanic and 7% black. I am sure these numbers have changed a bit but there is still a huge gap. As a Mexican-American woman, I would like to try to fill the void and encourage others to go out and explore.
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