Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire

Welcome to my blog! This first post should answer the Who? What? When? Where? and Why? I am doing this in the first place. I didn’t think it was all that big of a deal until I began telling more people what I was going to be doing. The expressions teetered around “No, really what are you doing?” and “Wait, come again?” As I have seen some other future hikers say, you’ve got to have a bit of crazy in you to attempt something like this.

So, let’s start with the Who?

Who is Embarking on this Journey?

Me! Riley with my trail name yet to be determined by fellow hikers.

I am 25 and from the big ol’ state of Texas. I grew up on a farm and spent most of my time outside adventuring with my brother and cousins in the woods. This is where my love for the outdoors and interest in wildlife initially began.

Our lil’ Brahman herd

After college I moved out of Texas for the first time, having the opportunity to work as a Park Ranger at Lake Powell. This experience truly changed my life as I trekked through the desert and beautiful mountain ranges in Southern Utah. I had a lot of solo hiking trips and really began to see what it’s like to be in the outdoors with only myself to rely on. I wouldn’t say it turned me into a desert rat (I missed the trees), but it certainly amped up my connection with nature.

Picture taken after a morning hike to Defiance House

After my time in Utah, I moved back to Texas and began working for Parks and Recreation in the City of Dallas… which leads me into part of my Why.

Why in the World are you Doing This?

The first question people ask when I tell them I am hiking the PCT is Why? I usually just answer by saying it’s something I have always wanted to do, but it runs deeper than that. I haven’t actually written down my Why’s, so this will be my first time putting pen to paper.

Why, Why, Why?!

  • Reconnecting with Nature

    • Ever since I moved to Dallas, Texas I have felt a deep longing to be back in the outdoors. I spent almost every day at a local park called White Rock Lake with my dog Juni. After work I would hustle home to get her and then speed out to the lake, so that we could spend at least a couple of hours walking around the perimeter before dark. It was, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of Dallas. Even that was covered in people and garbage and on top of that people disrespecting nature and wildlife daily. It still was a diamond in the rough in my eyes. Going straight from the rural part of Utah where the closest grocery was 3 1/2 hours away to the city was really hard on me. It felt like the deep connection I had fostered with the outdoors was suddenly no longer a part of my life. The only way I could get what I needed was to spend time outside daily. Having a dog that needed the outdoors as badly as me helped hold me accountable.

Sorry everyone! June Bug has my heart and I will be missing her the most, so the debate is over.

  • A Physical Challenge- more on this later

  • Creating New Connections in the Outdoors

    • I first discovered thru-hiking on YouTube in 2018. I was looking into outdoor hikes and found Dixie to Maine’s YouTube of the Appalachian Trail. This immediately sparked an interest in me to do a thru-hike. The connections she made with others on the trail seemed so real and they relied on each other to get through the tough experience. I hope to have camaraderie like that as well.
  • Have a Greater Understanding of Self

  • I want to let go of my responsible character that has taken over my life (but not the part that will keep me alive)

    • The routine really took me over when I moved to the city. Although most people would think adventure is around any corner there, for me it was the opposite. All of the adventures I desired seemed very far away. I didn’t care about the new chic cafe’s, shopping spots, or the immersive pop-up photo-op’s. That’s just never been me. I wanted to be outside, go hiking, discover new state parks, craft at home, read, or spend time with my pup. With those opportunities farther away, I began getting into the same routine every day. Wake up early to read, go to work, get Juni, go to the park, go home and eat dinner while watching TV. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I didn’t mind routine, but this definitely will hinder your adventurous spirit over time. I tried to open up to going to bars with friends, inviting friends over for dinner, or going to theme parks (I love theme parks!!), but everyone seemed to be in their own bubbles of busyness, leaving me to my own devices. I have always had a responsible nature starting with having a younger brother to look after when I was home. In college, I became responsible for everything to do with myself and making sure my grades were up to par. After that, I was responsible for making sure I got the best job that paid decently and to make sure I was on track to having a successful career. I am wanting to leave that responsibility in the dust of the Pacific Crest Trail and take a break from the constant weight of societal norms.

I’m sure I could list more reasons, but for the sake of not boring everyone to death, this is where I will draw the line.

The What, When, and Where?

So, with all of that being said here is my commitment phrase. “I will be hiking over 2,650 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in 2024.” I think that covers the above questions. This is happening very soon, sooner than I would like to admit. I am a procrastinator by nature, but I am happy to say I have all of my gear picked out.

Slimming this gear down as we speak! But the Kindle is not going anywhere.

I know that what I don’t know now I will learn along the way. I strangely feel unworried and no stress for the first time in a while. I guess quitting your job will do that to you.

I am happy to be starting the trail with my mom, who is my biggest supporter! She has the same adventurous spirit as me and has probably been more excited than me as well which seems almost impossible, but is true. She tells anyone that will listen about our upcoming adventure with a huge smile on her face. She will be hiking the first two weeks with me, so maybe that is why I am feeling less worried about starting this big adventure.

Thanks for reading. Now, let’s hit the trail together!

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Comments 9

  • John Payne : Apr 9th

    Can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

  • Pam Williams : Apr 9th

    Riley, Looking forward to reading your adventures!!! I’m so proud of you and jealous at the same time. Stay safe and happy trails!

    Love, Pam

    • Jamey Brasfield : Apr 9th

      Oh my goodness, Riley! Gerald and I are so excited for you! We’re looking forward to reading all about your adventures. 😊 Have a great time!

  • Vanessa Hidalgo : Apr 9th

    So excited for this adventure! Can’t wait to read all about it. 🩷

  • Kim Hardy : Apr 9th

    Sooooo excited and terrified for you both all at the same time… can’t wiat to read about your adventures. Praying for safe travels!

  • Irene Torres : Apr 9th

    Excited for you! You will be in my thoughts and prayers! Will be awaiting for your updates, Be safe & have fun!!

  • Stephanie Shultz : Apr 10th

    Praying for you and so proud for you and your mom 💕💕!

  • Steapheon Mcclatchey : Apr 10th

    Riley, supper excited for you taking this adventure. Look forward to following the updates. So glad Sherry is going with you the first 2 weeks. Be safe and be careful.

  • Colleen Kirk : Apr 12th

    Looking forward to seeing this adventure thru your eyes.


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