Too Many Parentheses – A Trail Correspondent’s Tale


My name is Madi and I am going to be part of the Trail Correspondents Podcast SOBOing the PCT starting June 20!

A Little About Me

I’m a Kiwi expat living in Los Angeles for six years now (ah man, time flies). I am a certified health coach, married to my grade-school sweetheart and former Samwise Gamgee doppelganger, Mike (who will be joining me), mother to a sweet little nine-year-old  kitty Izzy, who we adopted five years ago (sob, time), and clearly have an affinity for parentheses (buckle up, there’s a lot more where these came from).

My reasons for hiking the trail are twofold

  1.  I have never felt more clarity and peace within myself than what I feel on trail. When I’m carrying everything on my back and pushing my body to its limits, I feel physically invincible (I know I’m not—I had shin splints and plantar fasciitis at the start of this year, but… you get it). When I get blisters at the start of the hike and still push through all the way to the end, I feel mentally invincible. I guess I’m just seeking that feeling for longer than a weekend.
  2. I am going this year specifically because I’m done with waiting. Waiting to graduate, waiting to have lots of money, waiting for retirement, etc. I don’t want to be living my life in a perpetual limbo anymore. Years ago when I learned about the PCT, I became obsessed. I read and researched and watched videos and was always envious of these other people who seemed to have it all figured out. I realized that I’m no different, and it’s really just a matter of having the ovaries to say: No more waiting, this is what I’m doing now.

There are many reasons why I chose to go SOBO, but I narrowed them down to five (you’re welcome)

  1. My husband was in graduate school and was going to graduate in summer 2020, so we were planning to get on trail after graduation, and going SOBO worked best with the start date. (This is also part of the reason we’re going this year – he dropped out because he wanted to experience life outside of school, so here Mike – here’s a steaming pile of life for the next few months!)
  2. Less crowded. I’m a bit of an introvert. Don’t get me wrong, I love people and am super excited to meet other hikers, but I like the idea of having a more manageable sized bubble! This also may be different this year because of all the snow everywhere else on trail – everyone has been saying that this is the year of the SOBO!
  3. Physical challenge. There’s a tighter weather window, which means you need to be able to hit the trail running so to speak. I am in the best shape of my life and feel ready for this challenge.
  4. Weather. Along with the tight weather window, you are hopefully hitting each of the states in their best seasons. Washington before the fall rain and snow, hopefully before fires, the Sierra heading into fall and no tricky snow traverses (Forester without a snow chute!!!), and then not hitting the desert in horrible heat (although that doesn’t seem to be a problem for NOBOs this year – I’m sitting in my apartment looking out East toward Baden-Powell and it is STORMY! Sorry guys!).
  5. I just like to be a bit of a contrarian. Ask my parents… Or my husband.

So that’s a little about me and my plans (again, there is a second person in this hike but I really didn’t know if I should stick with I or We so I made a decision and stuck with it. Sorry Mike, not leaving without you!).

Along with the Trail Correspondent updates, you can follow along on Instagram where I will be posting as regularly as I can on T-Mobile. So… yeah we’ll see.




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