A Homebody Takes the First Step to a Thru-Hike

When you tell someone you’re hiking the Pacific Crest Trail next year, I think most folks’ initial reaction is to assume you are a very adventurous and outdoorsy person. That’s probably a safe assumption most of the time, but it wasn’t necessarily the case for me. I grew up in Delaware with a dad who loved the outdoors. To this day he’s always mountain biking, hiking, or doing something outside. He, somewhat forcibly but always lovingly, encouraged my older sister and me to go for hikes with him. I remember exploring my favorite state park with my sister as kids looking for tadpoles in the creek, collecting rocks, or filming very poorly done movies with my first video camera in the woods. All very fond memories, but nothing that made me go “Hey! There are mountains to climb! Rivers to cross! Let’s go!”

Baby Melanie out for a casual hike in blue jeans and a very cool visor.

My mother used to describe me as a homebody. Have you ever heard of a thru-hiker being described as a homebody? People really do change, y’all.

A few years back, a friend of mine (whom I now owe my entire livelihood to) loaned me Carrot Quinn’s book about her journey on the PCT. I was about halfway through it when I was flying to visit family last April. I was literally running through the airport to catch my connecting flight thinking about how horribly out of shape I was. When I flopped into my seat on the plane I jokingly texted that friend and said something along the lines of “I was toying with the idea of thru-hiking the PCT myself but I can barely run to my flight let alone from Mexico to Canada.” Sure, those days I’d still enjoy the occasional hike here and there. But I never considered myself strong enough to actually take on a challenge like that.

By the time my flight landed, the idea settled, and I knew I was going to do it.

The above-mentioned friend and me out for a hike at Fair Hill State Park, MD.

If I can pass along any words of wisdom to future thru hikers, it’s that deciding to take on something as life changing as this isn’t as simple as saying “yes”. It takes commitment, hard work, and a little bit of sacrifice. I made plans to quit my job and leave the life that I worked my butt off to build for myself in Texas (told ya I wasn’t a homebody anymore). I moved back to the East coast (to resume temporary homebody status) and am now staying with my graciously supportive mother for a few months while I save money.

These days, I’m hiking every trail within a few hours drive trying to get my hiker legs ready. It’s just a matter of time until it’s my turn to take my place at the Southern terminus! Wish me luck!

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Comments 2

  • LJ : Nov 5th

    You’ll soon go from a homebody to a trailbody! So proud of you and your adventures. 🙂

  • Jim Fish aka None Yet : Dec 5th

    Way to go. We all gotta start somewhere. Keep working on hiking whenever and wherever you can, and when you get to the big one, you will kill it!


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