Perfectly Suited for the PCT

In the days before my launch out onto the PCT, I started to fret and worry. Will I be warm enough in the desert? Will my ultralight pack be able to go the distance? Will the pains in my heels turn into a problem? Worrying is not something I normally do. I was mad at myself for wasting so much mental energy on what I couldn’t control. I knew that if I just got started, I’d be fine. And here I am!

I’ve taken on the trail name “Spice”, as in everyone is jealous of my “spicy” pants, or, I’m just adding a little flavor, or “spice” to the trail!

First mile

First cold-soak meal

First Pop-Tart in over 30 years!

Experiencing all of my firsts has been exhilarating but the experience is so much more than that. Not knowing anything about the desert of Southern California, the beauty and biological diversity has far exceeded my expectations. Turns out that spring in the desert is colorful and stunning!

First group campsite at Lake Morena

Favorite campsite in the pine forest

My first 50 miles!

Sometimes, as I stare down a new challenge like hiking the PCT, a dark little voice starts to ask “What makes you think you can do this? I mean really, this is a huge endeavor and you’re not so young anymore!”

Yes, it’s true, taking on the PCT is huge and I’m going to have another birthday within the first 100 miles on trail. But I really believe I can do this because I’m strong, persistent (some would say stubborn), and I love these kinds of adventures. Even though this is my first thru-hike, this is not my first rodeo. I think my years of backpacking experience have prepared me with the grit I need to face tough weather, long water carries and snowfield crossings. That, and not showering for days, eating food that was dropped in the dirt and being able to sleep in marginal conditions. My last few years serving in the Peace Corps and traveling around South America honed my skills of intuition, resourcefulness and flexibility. I also am an expert at listening to my body. For all of these reasons, I think I really am perfectly suited for the PCT.

After so many years of compromising all of my dreams for the needs of others, I’m finally pointing my feet and following my heart to wherever it wishes to go. Seems like Canada is a great destination!


I don’t know if I’m actually going to get to Canada. But whatever part of the trail I do actually walk, I’m determined to enjoy every step of this great adventure!


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Comments 4

  • Diane Pratt Cleland : Apr 15th

    Thank you for posting trail images and the variety of plant species throughout this endevour. My nephew started the hike, his second trip. He sends very few images… so I’ll enjoy yours. Last years Sierra’s snowfall broke up the thru hike but he did make it to Canada. He’s an old timer, too. He was the old man (42) among mostly 20 somethings. He hikes solo mostly but did enjoy some company, a few days, on the trail. I think his trail name was “Mosher”, as in mosh pit?
    I’ll enjoy following you this summer. Best wishes & good health. Diane

  • Brenda Dickey : Apr 16th

    Hey Spice Girl,
    The name suits you. Loving the photos. You look so happy and right at home. I’m glad to hear that you’ve told your stubborn self to let go of what you can’t control. You are strong! You are quick on your feet and have a flexible mindset to adapt to your surroundings. You’ve got this! Canada or bust! Keeping you in my daily thoughts and prayers. Safe travels and beautiful adventures.

  • Jeff Greene : Apr 16th

    Great pictures! And as an avid hiker who lives in Southern California, it grinds on me a bit that the whole section to Kennedy Meadows is described as the “desert section”, as you have noted the landscape is not as arid as such a name would suggest. There are sections of desert in the desert section, but most of it is not. And even the desert sections are mostly more interesting than popular belief would suggest!

  • Jim : Apr 25th

    I’ll be following along on your journey, so thank you! I will also be checking into Border Angels. Sounds like a great cause. One of your sentences was so beautifully stated that it stabbed at me because I feel it describes my life: Compromising all my dreams for the needs of others. Wow! That’s exactly what I do, and I’m so glad you are finding ways to deal with what I’m guessing is a very common condition. So I’m excited to follow your hike. Oh, and thanks for the photos! They are lovely.


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