Anxiety Meets Excitement – The Night Before

I’m sitting in my hotel room counting down the hours until I begin the trail. Tomorrow, I hike. Less than 24 hours until I commence the journey of a lifetime. Everything that I’ve been working towards for the last 20 months turns into reality. It feels surreal. I’ve been imagining this moment every day and night since the seed was planted and my obsession began.

Right now, my stomach is in knots. My chest feels heavy with excitement and anxiety. My thoughts are running sprints in my head, and I feel like I’m about to fall on the last hurdle.

Let’s start with my worries and anxiety-inducing fears before we get into my exhilarating anticipation of excitement and inspiration.

  1. I am worried about getting injured on the trail or reinjuring my hip injury from 2020. I’ve been working extremely hard to rehab and strengthen my imbalances so I will be starting off nice and easy on the trail and building my endurance and strength slowly to prevent any injuries. Also, blisters are not fun. So, I will do my best to prevent those, but a few are bound to happen.


  1. The weather worries me. Alyssa and the sun do NOT mix well. I burn very easily so I am going to do my best to prevent these inevitable burns from happening. I hope to lessen the severity of them at least though. I’ll be accepting donations of aloe in resupply boxes! HA!


I am not a fan of the cold either, or the rain, or snow. Basically, if the weather isn’t perfect, I’m not comfortable, so I will learn to embrace the suck and make the most of the weather as it happens and get out of my comfort zone… daily.


  1. I am concerned I am not experienced enough. I’ve only had about 20 days and nights’ worth of backpacking practice. Most of those days were just overnighters. So to set out and attempt six months at once is very nerve-racking.


  1. Mistakes are bound to happen, and I am a perfectionist. This means I hate to make mistakes; I hate failure. I absolutely despise when I fail at something. Even something as small as making a mistake in which sleeping pad I originally chose for the PCT. (I’m on my third try now so fingers crossed) I know failure is a part of life. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I also know that with failure comes growth so I will accept those mistakes with grace when it comes to the trail.


  1. Missing home. Home was the only place that felt safe for a long time. After I started hiking and backpacking, the outdoors became a new sense of home for me. I’ll miss my friends and family and most of all my puppy. However, it’s not goodbye, it’s just hasta luego.

Photo of my puppy Storm and me on her first backpacking trip

Now on to the excitement. The moments that will undoubtedly bring me to tears in the happiest of ways.

  1. The experience of a lifetime. I can’t wait to rely on myself and trust myself and experience all that the Pacific Crest Trail can offer me. I can’t wait to embrace the unknown.


  1. Personal growth. Hands up if you have a bookshelf filled with self-help and self-development books! I sure do. I have too many to count. I do read them, but I feel like this trail will bring me more personal growth than reading 100 self-help books ever could.


  1. To take my power back. This is a moment in my life where I can make it what I want it to be. I have the power to choose how I want to hike this trail. I can determine where I camp at night, what I eat, when I take breaks and absorb the breathtaking views of the PCT. Unless a storm rolls in or a wildfire is ahead of me, I have complete control of the next six months of my life. That already feels incredible and liberating.


  1. Sunsets, sunrises, rocks, geography, you name it. I can hardly wait for my first sunset tomorrow. I’m also a huge geography nerd and I love rocks. For those who pass me on the trail I might talk your head off about how there is a head scarp over there on that mountain and a soil creep to our left and how a couple miles back I took a great photo of an anticline. Don’t be alarmed if I start crying because of how in awe I am of the landscape before us.


  1. Meeting new friends. Meeting fellow hikers who are crazy enough to embark on this adventure is going to be so fulfilling. When I tell people (especially non-hikers) that I’m about to hike the pct they look at me like I’m another species. Who doesn’t want to find their tribe? Who doesn’t want to be around people who share the same passions? Meeting people on the trail who will inspire me and give me courage when I want to quit is something I am truly looking forward to.


  1. To inspire others while working through my trauma with my sexual assaults. I hope to give people strength and empowerment who are fighting their own fight while simultaneously finding my own strength during my fight.


Final Thoughts

Let me finish by saying I have WAY more fears and excitements than I’ve listed, but these are the main ones that I felt the need to share before the trail. Maybe you can relate to some of them.


Thanks for reading and happy hiking!



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Comments 3

  • Tracy Van Raes : Mar 27th

    Oh man. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!
    Especially the way you worded this one:
    —- > I can determine where I camp at night, what I eat, when I take breaks and absorb the breathtaking views of the PCT. Unless a storm rolls in or a wildfire is ahead of me, I have complete control of the next 6 months of my life. That already feels incredible and liberating.
    What a win!
    Clapping here in Penticton for you Alyssa!

  • Carol : Apr 2nd

    You will be incredibly experienced by the time you get through the Sierras, until then do not underestimate the elements and you’ll get through. Heat, hard pack snow/ice, snowbridges and water crossings are where you’re lack of experience will be so play it safe and over assess those, protection/coverage and team up in those situations. Be prepared to want to quit because then it won’t surprise you and you’ll find a way through! Not much different from your life challenges. One day at a time! Enjoy!


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