Hey Nick! It’s Me, Night Crawler

Hello There!

My name is Nick but on trail I go by Night Crawler and I’m from Albuquerque, NM. By day, I’m a retail associate at a well known outdoor outfitter (yes! The one you all just thought of. I’m still unsure if I am allowed to share the identity of that employer) and by night I’m a server/bartender at a steakhouse. I have decided to turn in the server apron and have put on hold the outfitting in order to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail this year! I wish I felt prepared but to be quite honest, I don’t. My mind goes between anxiousness and excitement. “Oh my! I cannot wait for this epic trek…” to “…did I even pack everything I wanted?” Rather than bore you with logistics and packing drama, let me explain who I am and why I am hiking this season.

That’s me! Don’t let the smile fool you. I just summited Hope Pass at 7 am. The pure definition of type II fun. I’m really just thinking about chicken wings.

The Name is Night Crawler

Was I discovered in the marvel universal? Do I think night hiking is the bee’s knees? Neither! I got the name when I was hiking the Colorado Trail in July of ’21. I woke up late on my second day of hiking with the hopes of crushing a 16-mile day through a burn zone. Mind you, I’ve had no training and the CT is my first hike longer than 4 days. I was simply not prepared for the miles. Morning turns to lunchtime. Lunch turns to evening. The evening quickly turns to dusk and the next thing I remember I am seeing blue eyes of an unknown creature with no silhouette looking at me as my black diamond headlamp guides the way. Scared and desperate for water, I “crawled” the rest of the way to the volunteer fire station where a water spigot and the dream of starting segment 3 the next morning taunted me. The name and the beginning of my hiking career began.

Why Am I Hiking the PCT?

  • It’s self-soothing
  • The challenge
  • Self Discovery
  • Healing from the death of a loved one
  • Addiction (NOPE! Not the kind that just popped into your brain)
  • The people
  • Experiencing something bigger then myself
  • Maybe I’ll get a boyfriend
  • The adventure (Duh!)
  • Forgiving myself

Improving Mental Health

UGH I know how cliché this is but… A lot of my main points above can be tied back to my mind. Who am I? What is it that I really want? In the real world I get so anxious. Out on trail I feel liberated. It’s almost as if the real world is not safe, but trail somehow is. But Night Crawler, aren’t you afraid of bears? The people? Being so far away from home? I mean, I guess I could be fearful of those things. But I feel the most scared back home somehow. You could argue that this is just a healthier form of escapism, but I feel as though the things I would do to cope back home would be far worse than just hiking a damn trail. Even when it gets hard, I can’t just turn to an unhealthy distraction. I HAVE to keep going. And guess what? I end up feeling far better than I did if I had turned back. A wise woman once told me “You can turn back or you can push forward. Either way you suffer, but only one direction will have a reward.” THAT is the spirit of thru hiking and that is why I’m doing the damn thing! On the Colorado Trail, I didn’t really take what I learned back to the real worldbut I have every intention to do so when I am done with the PCT. Rather than the ebb and flow between default life and trail life, I hope to find a space of peace and happiness that I can blend into default life BECAUSE I hiked. Hiking is how I heal. Hiking is how I relieve my anxieties. Hiking is how I work through my pains and traumas. Hiking is how I can look at myself and say “You’re doing something you love! Now keep doing it!”

Me at the high point of the CT. A true highlight of my experience that summer.

The People

Anyone who’s done a thru can tell you that the people you meet is what can make the experience that much more sweet. As much as I can try and explain and/or convince my loved ones from home how special thru hiking is, I never feel as though they get it. The best part about hiking in a group (the strangers who soon become friends) is that no one has to convince anyone how incredible the trek is. We just know. We get to share our favorite parts. We get raw and emotional. And no one is judging you for it! It’s bittersweet because you get so close and intimate with these folks and then… and then it’s kind of just over when the trail is over. You hike hundreds or even thousands of miles with people and you form passionate bonds with them. My friend Katie has traveled the world since childhood and she always says “just because you make connections that you may not get to rekindle does not mean that they were not important!” I try to remember this always. Not just with trail friendships but with all friendships. It’s still painful to part ways though. I still miss my CT friends to this day.

The CT tramily and I atop Lake Ann Pass. Again… a type II fun situation. The smile is brought to you by thoughts of pizza.

Until Next Time

Well, I think that’s all I have for us now. Some may say this is the most irresponsible thing one could do. Others can argue it’s the most responsible thing. Either way, will you join me as I hike? I hope to entertain you with stories of who I meet and places I see. As well, I hope to provide my honest feelings of how this experience is shaping me. In this moment I write to the world as Nicholas, but I leave him behind as I become Night Crawler once again. Happy Trails!

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Comments 12

  • Vickie : Apr 5th

    Enjoy the trail. It does look beautiful. My daughter starts from the UK at the end of April. She has many of the same scary thoughts. All the best.

  • Marin : Apr 5th

    This is so cool you’re doing this!! I hope this trek brings clarity and healing in all the ways you’re seeking… as well as just fun and amazing memories! I enjoyed reading this so much and looking forward to future updates!

  • Rolf Asphaug : Apr 5th

    Night Crawler, what a beautiful article. You put into words feelings from thru hiking that I can’t put together and describe – but they’re there. I never had the chance to really talk with you on the CT, but from the moment I met you in Breckenridge and then in Durango I thought “I like this guy.” Respect! Well wishes on your journey.

  • Madison Sawyer : Apr 5th

    Nick!! I followed the link you posted on FB and found myself reading your wonderfully written article this morning. I’m so happy you found peace and healing in hiking. It’s truly a serene and humbling experience. I’ve subscribe so keep the stories coming, and if you ever find yourself hiking in Colorado, let me know! Maybe we can go on an adventure together! Sending love, support, and sunny days your way 🙂

  • Bryan : Apr 5th

    This is such a great idea! Can’t wait for the next one ?

  • Danielle Lance : Apr 5th

    So proud of everything you do, you’re amazing. (P.s. remember the song we wrote about your love of bearded people ;))

  • Cliffhanger : Apr 5th

    nightcrawler great job! Fidget and I miss our time hiking with you! Love the blog keep it up and be safe!

  • Tim Kepple : Apr 5th

    Go get ’em, tiger. I’m proud of you and I look forward to reading about more of your adventures.

  • Mary/ fidget/ Mom? : Apr 5th

    I am just so crazy proud of you and so blessed to have had the pleasure of your support, your stories, your singing, your kindness, letting me get to know the real you as we both scrambled to share and get to know each other as intimately as we could before we eventually parted ways. I so live through what you are so blessed to be able to pursue. You “get it” at such a young age! Continue your journey and know “mom” is sening lots of healing energy and lifting you up those mountains with ease. Soak it up and lean into all the feels my dear friend❤️?❤️

  • FloridaMan : Apr 5th

    Send it!

  • Cindy Wagner : Apr 6th


    So happy to hear from you on your adventure! Being in nature is profound and exciting. You will have many wonderful lessons and treasures to bring back from this trek. The stillness that being in nature reflects to us brings such peace. It is astounding. May you breathe deeply. May you unlock all the knots within. May you experience the “inter-being” of everything around you. May you feel it’s wholeness and it’s emptiness. May the stars touch you so deeply, that you experience them on the inside. May every cell in your being dance for joy! Much love, W.W.

  • Joshua : May 7th


    Really f****** cool man. This is the first time I’ve ever commented on any of these blogs but I really appreciated your story in the way you shared it and why you’re doing what you’re doing… And even though I’m a straight, divorced man, I totally get what you’re coming from, and I totally feel the same way and totally appreciate how you were able to articulate what hiking really means… A combination of health and healing that only people who hike can really understand.

    Right now I only do 5 to 10 miles in a day by myself and I never camp anywhere overnight… But the story that you just shared, really helped push me much closer to my dreams of doing these trails. Thank you


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