Longing to be Feral

I could…

Put a down payment on a new car.

Not work at a restaurant and try to launch my full-time art career.

Go to Europe for a couple months.

Pay off my credit card.

Go on an extended road trip.

Buy concert tickets to every Kevin Morby and Dope Lemon tour stop for the year.

Pack up and move to Oregon like I’ve been threatening.

Buy a new fancy easel.

Finally attend Burning Man.

Get my parents something nice and well deserved.

I could stay home and throw that shit in a high-yield savings account.

These are morning thoughts I had a month before my start date on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Thoughts about the money I’ve been squirreling away since last June. Thoughts that are really masks for self-doubt and fear. Yet I have never been so motivated to save up and follow a workout plan (loosely) until I decided that I have to walk across the country. So instead of all these thoughts I won’t be turning into realities (just yet), I have held my ground on the decision I made almost two years ago. Why? You, me, and literally everyone I know asks. Well, let’s get into it.

One more thing I could do is tell you that it was Reece Witherspoon’s portrayal of Cheryl Strayed in Wild that did it for me but that would make everyone stop reading right here. Of course, like many others, Wild did put the PCT on my radar years ago. But let’s circle back to that second “could” on the list.

 I could not work at a restaurant and try to launch my full-time art career.

That’s been the plan all along and a huge part of the reason I decided to go on this adventure. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New Mexico State University in 2018, all while moving to and from Lake Tahoe, CA, Ashland, OR and back because I couldn’t sit still. I then received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington State University in 2022 and returned to my almost-New Mexico hometown of Trinidad, CO. Living in all three PCT states just years apart, I fell in love with each of them for different reasons.

I’m a painter: plants, animals (mostly birds), people I love, and more recently dog portraits – because those pay. The subject matter, color scheme, and conceptual basis of my work is all rooted in nature and specifically the southwest. This was the foundation of my MFA thesis work, subsequently titled Longing. I was longing to be home in the desert and outside of Washington state where I had just endured a melodramatic heartbreak.

Now that I’ve been home for almost two years, I think I’m longing to be back west. There’s something about the light on the west coast that feels nostalgic and unknown to me. At home I feel lost and safe at the same time – confusing, I know. I have grown comfortable being somewhere I used to refuse to come back to permanently. My M.O. for years was leaving, I loved to get up and move my entire life across the country in my Corolla. But now I’ve found myself settling, which in some ways has been quite healthy for me.

But I’m longing once again – longing to experience something new, longing for inspiration, longing to find a new path, longing to find something outside of myself, longing to be feral.

So, walking it is.

Let me just say this now. I am fearful, worried, and kind of sad? Admitting this in writing is even scarier, vulnerability.. yuck. I haven’t felt the excitement I once did while daydreaming about this undertaking. I think the preparation has finally burned me out. Why the fuck do I know so much about portable bidets and why a singular contact lens packet weighs 2 grams, yet I froze my butt off during my shakedown hike. I did this to myself and now I am tasked with finding excitement again – because I know it’s in there. I know this experience will change me and that is bittersweet.

I am grateful to be at a point in my life where quitting my job didn’t ruin my career, my family is healthy enough for me to go, my cat has a wonderful and somewhat reliable aunty to watch over him, and my partner is supportive of my endeavors. Now is the time I must go, just when the going got chill, I must shake things up for the sake of the story. (I’m in my Saturn return – is this why? Asking the astrology girlies out there.)

I start the journey on my first thru-hike in mid-April from Campo, CA. I plan to use this blog as a creative outlet of sorts and maybe just to bitch about things. I hope you join.






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Comments 7

  • Karl : Apr 14th


    Such an insightful sharing of self.

    Distillates of one’s mind can become vaporous and escape notice unappreciated by the thinker, let alone shared with an anonymous reader.

    Your blog encourages me to be more introspective.

    Thank you, Karl

    • Autumn Hunnicutt : Apr 16th

      Thanks Karl!

  • Stacey : Apr 16th

    All of Trinidad is rooting for you! We will miss you but can’t wait to watch this adventure unfold. 💗

    • Autumn Hunnicutt : Apr 16th

      Thanks so much Stacey!

  • Tim : Apr 16th

    Thanks for being vulnerable Autumn! It’s incredibly inspiring to see your reflections and motivations for undertaking the PCT in written form. I hope this adventure serves you well and look forward to seeing where it takes you.

    • Autumn Hunnicutt : Apr 16th

      Thank you 🩵

  • Sarah : Apr 18th

    You have ALWAYS loved adventures. I can remember when you were 5 and I was 8, we started to “adventure” through the lilac bushes in my backyard and go into the neighbors yard like it was a new place to discover. After that it was a wrap, anytime we were at my house it was always Autumn’s first request, “Can we go adventuring?” I can still see your little chubby cheeks! ❤️ I am so incredibly proud of you for keeping that child-like spark inside you! I know hiking this trail will be a challenge but you have always flourished when a challenge is presented to you, and I just know you will feel so accomplished at the end! You are inspiring the lives of those who love and admire you! I love you cousin! More than you know! Cook, Zae, and I are rooting for you!
    P.S. Send me all the cool pics! I’m living vicariously through you 🙏🏻


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