Nice to meet you!

 

Hello! My name is Lacie and I am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail!

I wasn’t always hiker trash…

In 2019 I was a working as an accountant. By the age of 30, I had already racked up a couple masters degrees and scored a management role in the finance department at a state university. 

Though on the surface, I looked like I had it all together, on the inside I was falling apart. I struggled seriously with clinical depression, drank too much, and had come to see my life as empty and meaningless. Years of therapy, countless prescriptions, and a few stints in the psych hospital afforded little relief for my sadness. 

Out of ideas and desperate for a change, I decided to quit my job and hike the Appalachian Trail. Though I had plenty of backpacking experience, I was not prepared for the ways that thru hiking would change me. 

Discovering a new life on trail…

On the trail, being happy came easily. I watched with amazement as the quiet, self-conscious accountant transformed into a gregarious extravert named “Sun Fox.”  Months went by without symptoms. I fell into the rhythms of nature, and rediscovered a serenity in my soul I hadn’t known since childhood.

Something about spending that much time immersed in wilderness recalibrated me. The boundary between what was real and what was hoped for dissipated, and the world became magical again.

For the first time in my adult life, I could see who I was without depression; I knew with certainty that happiness was possible for me.

Coming home…

After finishing the trail and coming home, however, my negative thoughts began to reemerge.

I had found peace on-trail, but didn’t quite figure out how to bring that peace back to the “real world” with me.  When my depression returned, I knew that I had to get back to the trail.

So instead of going back to the rat race, I doubled down on the dirtbag life. For the past year I have worked only seasonal jobs, from backcountry caretaking to warehouse labor, saving up and waiting for my chance to thru hike again. 

Between gigs, I spent my time hiking, backpacking, and backcountry skiing in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Return to trail…

Though I had planned to hike the PCT in 2021, Covid chaos made that dream pretty uncertain for a while. The PCTA didn’t even confirm whether permits would be issued until a few weeks before the lottery. I knew from my stint working on the Long Trail this fall that many people were planning thru hikes for 2021. Would I even get a spot? 

But then it happened! Permits were issued and, to my relief, my name was on one!

And so here we are. In 5 short weeks, I’ll be taking the first steps on the adventure of a lifetime. I am so thrilled to be getting back on trail, and I can’t wait to share that journey with all of you!

In my next post, I’ll be sharing how I have been prepping for the PCT. Until next time!

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Comments 9

  • Avatar
    Bill Elliott : Feb 17th

    Something is calling you back to the trail. Nice article and inspiration to others to find alternative ways to make it thru current state of affairs.
    Not to be weird but I’m into biking and didn’t find that outlet until age 58 after changing my diet and wanting to exercise. I wish I could have found that outlet 30 years ago. My wife and 2 girls always camped, bicycled around campground, and short trail adventures. Now that we are 60’s & retiring early, maybe do odd jobs, but have 3 bike packing trips and Boulder day hikes planned.
    I wish you well and look forward to reading about your adventure.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Lacie : Feb 17th

      Thanks, Bill!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    pearwood : Feb 17th

    Go for it, Lacie!
    My AT NOBO is delayed (again) until next year. I’ll be doing it vicariously this year.
    Blessings,
    Steve / pearwood

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Lacie : Feb 17th

      Luckily the trail isn’t going anywhere 🙂 Thanks for the kind words, Pearwood!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Lauren Brewer : Feb 18th

    Lacie, I resonate with you and am cheering you on! I took off for the AT in 2019 with my husband and we completed our SOBO thru hike. It was everything I needed and I felt like I had shed all heaviness of society off my shoulders while out there. I also did the master’s degree and career route only to feel totally stuck. Being outside on trail was everything. I’ve already been talking to my husband about a PCT thru in the coming years because I miss our time on trail so much. I didn’t go back to my career and I don’t think I will. Honestly, dirt-bagging it might be the healthiest thing I’ve ever done, lol. Good luck this year and enjoy! I know you will!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Anthony Kring : Feb 20th

    Good luck best wishes !

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Peter Lyons : Feb 20th

      Lacie,
      I wish you the best on your PCT adventure. Try not to be so hard on yourself. There is so much enthusiasm and intelligence in your story.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Phyllis Dodge : Feb 22nd

    I know nothing on hiking but I am very proud of your story. Question why did you need a permit to hike the trail.? You are an inspiration . I look forward to following you on your adventure . Good luck and love on your journey.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Jburns : Feb 24th

    There is peace and serenity on the trail. Any trail. I like walk up 14ers. I have hiked major sections of the AT, CDT, Sierras, Cascades, and Canadian rockies.
    Anything that gets me outdoors. I am a professional scuba diver and avid motorcycle adventurist.
    Live your best life wherever it leads.
    Best wishes and safe travels.

    Reply

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