My Go-To Sources for Pre-PCT Inspiration

At the time I publish this piece, I am less than a month away from hitting the Pacific Crest Trail. And, holy moly, am I anxious. This admittance of pre-adventure anxiety is something new I’m trying. In the past, I have had this habit of rejecting the possibility of any pre-adventure jitters; I hoped that by never giving my fears any mental energy, they would go away. It was my embodiment of “fake it til you make it.” Some people perceived this veiled confidence as bravery, grit, courage even. Little do they know, beneath my confident, clearheaded exterior sits a restless, nervous ball of anxiety.
But this upcoming adventure is a little different than my past adventures and I think it calls for a new plan of attack. For one, a PCT thru-hike is much much longer. My marathon was only a little over four hours and my zero-plans solo-camping trip across New Zealand lasted three weeks. It was much easier to grit my teeth and bear it during moments of panic for those shorter amounts of time. Secondly, this goal holds much more personal significance (a point I will expand on in a later blog post). So for this adventure, I am test-driving a new approach: acknowledging my anxieties and giving space for my fear. I am trying to lean into the discomfort and turn to my sources of inspiration in moments of anxiety. Time to give “fake it til you make it” a rest.
Here are four of my go-to sources for inspiration when I need a little extra push towards my goals:

1. She Explores Podcast:

She Explores: Women in the outdoors.

Photo via

“A podcast for and about women who are inspired by time spent outside.” This podcast is amazing. A truly powerful reminder of all the incredible women who are out there in the world pursuing their passions and living their truths. The interviews are poignant, honest, and refreshing. She Explores is hosted by Gale Straub, a creative who herself is an inspiration to me ( She Explores reminds me of all the incredible women out there passionately pursuing their goals and that I am not alone in my desire to do “crazy” things.

2. Caroline Gleich:

Follow Caroline on Instagram: @carolinegleich


Caroline is a professional mountaineer and all-around badass who is currently preparing to summit Everest. I deeply respect her continued dedication to using her platform as a professional athlete to advocate for social and environmental justice. Watching Caroline fight through a recent ACL injury as she remains dedicated to her goal of summiting Everest inspires me to keep on keeping on and makes me ask myself “what’s my excuse for not going after my goals?”

3. Grizel:

Follow Grizel on Instagram: @_grizel_


Grizel is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail with her pup, Rue. Grizel is honest about the challenges she faces as a Latina thru-hiker and the difficulties of the trail. Something about her honesty and her ability to constantly find empowerment from the adversity she faces is refreshing and inspiring. Grizel reminds me that yes, thru-hiking is hard, but yes, I can do it.

4. My Mom

Photo via my mom’s Instagram.

I am tremendously fortunate enough to have a best friend and a mother all wrapped up in one. She is my biggest supporter, largest cheerleader, personal hype-woman, and fiercest protector. In moments when my self-confidence plummets and my mind is overrun with self-doubt, she is only one phone call away. Though backpacking, rock-climbing, and solo-travel aren’t her forte, she will sit on the phone with me as I share my anxieties about this year’s snowpack or my struggle in deciding what kind of stove to carry, if any. She always responds with love and compassion: something along the lines of “You can do it, I believe in you” and always with the added, “But you can always move home if your dream-chasing doesn’t work out. I will always love you.” So if you need some inspiration, give your best friend a call—be it your mom or not.

I hope this list is helpful to those of you in need of a quick reminder that you are powerful and capable. As my thru-hike grows closer and closer, I can assure you that I will be more and more frequently be returning to this list.

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