A Watermelon Hiker: Pacific Crest Trail, Here I Come!

A Watermelon Hiker

“She looks like a watermelon!” The class laughs uncontrollably.

I’m standing in front of my seventh-grade math class and a classmate clad in full black, intentionally pale make-up, signature choker and combat boots, shouts out. I’m wearing a fluorescent pink top with white and green striped shorts. It was the ’90s; I was rocking my chubby curves and it is entirely possible that I did in fact look like a watermelon. Nonetheless, I see the girl, who obviously must have invented the smoky eye, glaring back at me. I was not going to let this keep me from attempting a math problem I probably couldn’t solve. I turned with as much gusto as I could muster and said politely, “At least, I look alive.” Maybe that was mean, but a watermelon doesn’t care.

(Disclaimer: If you are rockin’ that goth gear, go on with your bad self! You do you!)

The Importance of the Watermelon

One reason is because I am plus-size. I’ve been bullied, none of which can be compared to horrific instances of others. I recognize my privilege of being a white woman and will be the first to tell you that this experience pales in comparison to the other groups of people in far different circumstances. That having been said, my plus-size nature has shaped my view on the world and will in fact be a prime topic of the angle of my blog. Thank you to the many plus-size outdoors-people who have written blogs and encouraged other unlikely hikers. You have inspired me to share the story of this watermelon’s attempt to plant her hiking seed on the Pacific Crest Trail.

The second reason is that while this instance of bullying can be perceived as unfortunate and disappointing. In retrospect, my response lends itself to the fact that I try to find the humor in all places. At some point, I’ll get into the reasons for hiking the PCT, but I want you to have a sense of my background before committing to spending time reading my blog.  I am attempting a thru-hike of a lifetime, because this watermelon is in fact “alive.” 

The Watermelon’s Secret

Pssst! Just between us. I’ve never once been backpacking before. Shhh! I haven’t even been camping. I plan to tackle this experience as a novice. Like seriously, I have never slept outside. Ever. Proudly, the watermelon has hiked before, mostly on the 14ers of Colorado. While I plan to prepare and train for the physical aspects of the hike, I’m curious about what it is going to be like to explore gear for plus-size women, and I plan to ask the questions that many novice thru-hikers feel uncomfortable asking. But, I am not a stupid watermelon. I read.

Planting Season!

Be prepared, outdoor retailers! This 35-year-old watermelon is ripe and ready to pitch a tent in the middle of your store. I will need no help. (I’m lying. I have no idea what I’m doing). But laughter is always accepted. Please comment if you would like me to explore specific various prepping experiences. You can also find me on my Instagram: @fireroamingwild ~ This watermelon needs your ideas! I’ll find a way to lend my limited experience and humor to quite possibly one of the most embarrassing experiences ever. 

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Comments 27

  • Marlene Wulf : Sep 30th

    Looking forward to following you on the adventure! With that kind of attitude it’s going to be a wild ride! You go girl!

    Reply
    • TravelLvr : Sep 30th

      I agree! best of luck, Watermelon! Can’t wait to read all about it!

      Reply
      • Shannon Quadres : Sep 30th

        Thank you so much for your support! I’m sure I’ll need help along the way!

        Reply
    • Shannon Quadres : Sep 30th

      Thank you so much! Your support means so much!

      Reply
  • cj : Sep 30th

    My friends laughed at me five years ago when I announced that for my 65th birthday I would hike the AT. I had never camped, set up a tent or put on a backpack until the first day on the Trail (yep, they laughed at that, too.) I had to leave the trail at just over 700 miles for a family death. This year for my 69th birthday and with the same gear as before, I picked up where I left off. You sound very determined and I look forward to following you!

    Reply
    • TravelLvr : Sep 30th

      Good for you, CJ! I’ll be cheering you on as well!

      Reply
    • Shannon Quadres : Sep 30th

      What an incredible story! I’m so sorry to hear of your family death, but so happy for you that you came back to pick up where you left off. Your perseverance is a great example to me and I appreciate you following along!

      Reply
    • Martin catterall : Nov 26th

      As a double obstinate my goal is to make trip next year but from coming from Scotland it is a wee bit more difficult logisticly but I take my hat off too your attitude all
      The best on your endeavours

      Reply
  • Turtle : Sep 30th

    Love the post! I am a less than fit larger than most hiker who will be thru-hiking the AT this year. Looking forward to your further posts.

    Reply
    • Shannon Quadres : Sep 30th

      Turtle! I’m so excited that you are planning the AT! I would love to follow your journey as well! Thank you for your comment and encouragement!

      Reply
      • Allie : Oct 9th

        So excited for you! I will also be attempting the PCT next year! REI has great classes for anything you could imagine, many great backcountry options! And female only groups as well! I learned lots when I took one! Best wishes to you!

        Reply
        • Shannon Quadres : Oct 9th

          You are so right! I forgot about REI classes! I’m going to check them out! I really appreciate the feedback ~maybe I can teach them something 🤓

          Reply
        • Shannon Quadres : Oct 9th

          I also hope to see you on trail!

          Reply
  • Carley : Oct 2nd

    Looking forward to reading your posts! My husband used to hike a lot in high school, so let me know if I need to ask him any questions! 🙂

    Reply
    • Watermelon : Oct 3rd

      Thanks, Carley! I will certainly reach out soon! ❤️

      Reply
  • Julie : Oct 4th

    I’m excited to follow your adventures! I’d love to read about your gear choices. Tent, backpack, stove, water purification system choices. Where you bought them. If/where you found any bargains or preowned gear…. i look forward to your updates!

    Reply
    • Shannon Quadres : Oct 4th

      Julie! You read my mind, girl! I’m planning my next post and head to my outdoor retailer to try out as much as I can! Since I’ll be collecting these items (pricey, pricey, pricey) over time, I’ll be doing a full gear shakedown closer in the spring. But I’m on it! Currently researching, bargains other than outdoor retailer garage sales. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  • Andrea.Loves.Hiking : Oct 4th

    I’m excited for more Tales from the Watermelon!

    Reply
    • Shannon Quadres : Oct 9th

      I’m excited that you are excited! Thank you so much! More to come soon!

      Reply
  • Mrigayu Ghosh (MG) : Oct 13th

    So excited to see where this journey takes you!

    Reply
    • Watermelon : Oct 15th

      Thanks MG! Please make sure you edit for my use of commas! 💛

      Reply
  • Janice Cone : Oct 15th

    I am so excited for you! I will be following your adventure every step.
    I have a hard time going very far in high altitude where I live. You first hike is what I aspire to after hiking all summer!!
    Good luck, I will be with you in spirit.
    Thank you for being so candid, and thank you to your mom for giving you this gift!

    Reply
    • Watermelon : Oct 15th

      Janice! Altitude is the worst, especially being from Texas. I have to acclimate for so long. I am so thankful for your support and I can’t wait to hear about your future hike!

      Reply
  • Jeffrey Wong : Oct 15th

    It is amazing to take that first picture at the southern terminus of the PCT.
    The first step is another major event as is the second step.
    You’ll feel empowered by the Half Mile app which tells you where to get water. You’re so glad you downloaded that free app on your smartphone!
    After the shakedown at Laguna Mountain Sports, if you don’t completely revise your kit, you know you got most of it right months before starting.

    So glad you wrote this, bringing back so many wonderful memories. Just a few: The chill of dawn and the burn of the desert sun. Cowboy camping as satellites fly overhead. The wind blowing through your tarp. Cold dew falling off trailside bushes flushing through your trail shoes. Making camp on the Leeward side of a giant juniper in a wild windstorm. Bears loading at a berry field, lumbering away at your approach. Rattlesnakes lying across the trail early and too cold to coil for a strike as you hop over them.

    Jeffrey

    Reply
  • Watermelon : Oct 15th

    Jeffery, you have touched me with your recollection of your experiences. The imagery is so palpable that I feel I’m already there! …now, then you go and mention bears and snakes. C’mon, man! Thanks for your support!

    Reply
  • Jorge : Oct 15th

    Fabulous adventure!

    Nothing in life really comes easy but you seem like you have right attitude!

    Writing a blog about your trip will definitely make it memorable for you. I find that I clearly remember chips where I wrote a journal.

    Gl

    Reply
    • Watermelon : Oct 16th

      Thanks, Jorge! I’m certainly looking forward to embracing the full PCT! Thank you for your support! I need it!

      Reply

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