How a Corsican Storm Led Me to the Pacific Crest Trail


As this marks my first post on The Trek, allow me to introduce myself. I’m 25 years old, from the Netherlands, and recently graduated in Molecular Life Sciences.  I am constantly seeking out new challenges both in the lab and in the great outdoors. In April 2024, it is time to start my next challenge, as I will attempt to hike from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. I am drawn to this trail due to its extreme distance, diverse landscapes, and the necessity to prepare for a variety of terrains and weather conditions. Throughout this five-month journey, I’ll be carrying everything I need in my backpack, including my tent for countless nights under the stars.

How my hiking journey began

My love for hiking didn’t emerge until later in life. Despite growing up in a sporty family, our summer vacations were quite the opposite and typically revolved around beach relaxation. It all started with a spontaneous decision with a friend to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc, a 170 km trail. Armed with borrowed gear and a sense of adventure, my friend and I set out on this journey. Even our terrible mispronunciation of “Les Houches” and the fact that we realized we had not even decided the direction we would hike in upon arrival in Chamonix couldn’t weaken our excitement. With little preparation, we set out on the trail, and to our surprise, it was an incredible success. This experience sparked our desire for more, leading us to tackle the GR20 in Corsica just one year later.

One of our first hiking days on the Tour Du Mont Blanc

First taste of solo hiking

It was there in Corsica, in the rugged terrain and unpredictable weather, that I first heard of the PCT from two Danish hikers. Their story of a friend undertaking the journey solo awakened a sense of adventure within me—a belief that perhaps I too could undertake such an adventure. Yet, I never would have thought I could attempt such a long hike alone, mainly because of one formidable obstacle: my indecisiveness. During our Corsican expedition, the weather took a turn for the worse just before reaching the trail’s midpoint. Arriving drenched, we sought refuge indoors as a storm raged outside. In the middle of the chaos, the only discussion topic that circulated among fellow hikers was: is it wise, or even safe, to continue the trail? Hours later, many, including my friend and hiking companion, decided to quit the trail. I was devastated, I would have to quit the trail as well. But then, an encounter with fellow hikers from France presented an unexpected opportunity to press onward together. As I journeyed alongside my new companions, weathering the storm both figuratively and literally, I experienced the beauty of solo travel. Conversations with former strangers flowed effortlessly and bonds formed naturally. I discovered a sense of peace and empowerment previously unknown to me.  

Sunsets in Corsica

The decision

It amazes me how seemingly small occurrences, a chance encounter, a turn of events, or a decision can seem to influence one’s trajectory so much. I often wonder about the alternate realities where Sifre walks different paths based on slight deviations in circumstances. But in this reality, if not for the storm that swept through Corsica, I might never have tried hiking alone. And that event of hiking without my friend in Corsica was when I decided that I should attempt to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

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Comments 5

  • Marieke : Mar 28th

    Already proud of you!

    • Sifre van Teeffelen : Mar 31st

      Thank you!

  • jhonY : Mar 28th

    Oh boy. With a write up like that, you have another vicarious follower. Looking forward to it.
    Thanks in advance
    • Good Walking to you.

    • Sifre van Teeffelen : Mar 31st

      I’m really happy to hear, thank you!

  • Marieke : Apr 3rd

    How nice to read how you experienced the peaks of the Balkans. You will undoubtedly experience even more special and valuable encounters during the PCT. Cherish them!


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