This past month, I have been collecting questions that I receive from Instagram, coworkers, family, friends and the like. Here are some of those questions and my answers to them:

How do you manage back pain on trail?

For those who aren’t familiar with my spine situation – my entire spine is fused (my first blog post goes further into detail in regards to that – https://thetrek.co/pacific-crest-trail/why-im-thru-hiking-the-pct/).

As long as I keep moving, my back doesn’t cause me too many issues. Mostly, it hurts if it gets cold or if I sit around too much. In daily life (as well as on trail) I have a stretching routine that I do every evening as well as taking anti inflammatory supplements daily (Curcumin).

Keeping my pack as light as possible also helps me manage back pain. I’m not the most ultralight, my base weight comes in around 10 pounds or so, but it works for me and that’s all that matters. In the next month or so I’ll be posting another blog specifically about my gear for anyone who is looking for a more in depth break-down.

Stretching while enjoying the sunset.

Are you bringing a gun and are you scared of bears?

No, and no.

Statistically speaking, I’m more likely to die on my commute to work than I am to die hiking the PCT. I don’t believe a gun is necessary or appropriate for the PCT.

Black bears are really harmless if you handle the situation in an educated way. Mostly, store your food right, shouldn’t have any issues.

How do you poop in the woods?

Dig a hole, 6-8” deep, 4-6” wide. Poop in it. Bury it. Pack out your TP if applicable (by applicable, I mean if you use it, not if you should pack it out – you should always pack it out).

How do you get ready for a thru hike?

Mentally, I don’t believe that you can. I think you can wildly speculate on how you think you might feel (which I’ll admit, I definitely do), but I don’t think you’ll really know until you’re in it. Don’t quit on a bad day! Angler and I support each other during the good days and the bad days – I’m thankful to have him on this adventure.

Angler and I.

Physically, by hiking! I love hiking. I have “HIKE MORE” tattoo’d on my knuckles, I’m in this for life. I hike every weekend and have recently gotten into snowshoeing (which is just like hiking only way harder).

Snowshoeing is awesome

What do you eat on trail?

Or how the grocery store clerk asks is “wow… you’re sure stocking up on protein bars, huh?”. This is the most complicated part of our hike logistically because I have an allergy to gluten and a fairly severe intolerance for dairy. You won’t see me eating pasta sides and pop tarts. Because of this, I cannot resupply at anything less than a full service grocery store.

My solution to this problem is simple – mail resupply boxes to small towns or other unincorporated areas. This requires a fair amount of planning, especially because I have a few other special needs – such as vitamins, skincare, etc. I don’t believe you should neglect yourself to be ultralight. I’ll be posting another blog in the next month or so specifically about what’s in my resupply boxes.

Getting down on some salmon.

That’s a long time…. Do you think you’ll get sick of it?

There will probably be moments, sure. Like everything, even things you love, eventually there will be a day when you’re just not feeling it. But I believe in the long run, no, I probably won’t.

What will you do to be inclusive in the hiking community?

I think you should be all-inclusive all the time because everyone is human and we all deserve respect and kindness.

Are you a purist?

No, HYOH. Angler and I both decided that being a purist isn’t for us. We will do as much of the trail as physically possible (and that’s safe to do) but if there is an unsafe section or a long road walk, we’re gonna skip it and not feel bad. I won’t roadwalk anything ridiculous either because I believe asphalt is really terrible for your joints and a great way to injure yourself.

Thru hiking is a personal experience and I think just because you miss a few miles doesn’t make you any less of a thru hiker than anyone else. Wildfires have made it virtually impossible to hike the whole thing anyway.

What are you going to do after?

To over simplify this – I don’t know. I have a few broad ideas about what I’d like to do, but also understand that I (like everyone else) am an ever-evolving being that changes their mind often. Nothing is set in stone yet. I would like to hike the AT and CDT if my body holds up well on the PCT. But until I give this a shot I won’t know anything for sure.

Can’t wait to live in this thing for 5 1/2 months.

And that’s that. Got a question? Leave a comment and if I get enough for a second batch, I’ll make a new blog post answering them!

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Comments 1

  • Jan-Willem : Feb 11th

    Question… How much does it cost financially to do the whole hike? With buying food and supplies beforehand and during.


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