Why I, a scared girl, am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2022

I have never done that before so I think I can do it

Says Pippi Longstocking and says I. Hello there! I’m reporting to you live from Amsterdam (the Netherlands) at the moment. However, in May of next year, I will be crossing the ocean to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Even though the start date of my hike is still 162 days, 23 weeks, and 5 months away(but who is counting?!). I thought I would introduce myself to you avid readers of the Trek blogs! The Pacific Crest Trail will be my first thru-hike. If you follow me, you are sure to witness big mistakes and hopefully get a good laugh out of it. I don’t know how common this knowledge is but the Netherlands is a very flat country. We are 6 meters (19 ft.) below sea level and as flat as the pancakes we like to eat. So how come a girl without significant mountain experience is going to hike some of the highest mountain ranges in the US of A?!

Another hiker inspired by the book Wild

I got into hiking just 3 years ago because I read this great but very unknown book called “Wild”. At the time, I was convinced that thru-hiking is only for a very small minority of extremely brave, strong, and fit people. The idea of going on such an adventure gave me excitement butterflies in my stomach. Yet, I was convinced it was not an option for people like me. Those who like their comforts, need their daily showers and do not love exercising. This is when I stumbled on my second cliché: Youtube videos by thru-hikers. And yes, all of them are extremely brave, strong, and fit people. But most did not start out like that. I was convinced and I attempted a couple of long hikes in different European countries. I made a lot of rookie mistakes. For example, attempting 30 km (18 miles) on the first day without any training, wearing 50 euro trail runners, and using a 32F sleeping bag above the polar circle. I quit some hikes early but I also learned that I love hiking.

Why I love hiking

I love that my mind just goes empty when I hike. No thoughts except about where to eat, where to sleep, where to collect water, and where to shit. I love how invincible hiking makes me feel. I walk long distances every day no matter the weather. I carry everything I need on my back. I make every decision by myself, even decisions that could mean life or death. I love seeing the landscape change very slowly. How my attention to detail increases, noticing leaves, clouds, and little insects. I love how people you meet on the trail can go from strangers to best friends in a matter of minutes. How conversations go deep very quickly. Hikers are some of the best people I know. But most of all I love that almost anyone can do it. Just walk out your door and hike!

Scared girl braves catholes and goes on an adventure of a lifetime!

Before I started hiking I had this image of myself as being a shy, scared girl. Well, this girl scaled mountains, shit in a cat hole, slept in a tiny tent during big storms,  and made tons of trail friends. Hopefully, through my writing for the Trek I will convince some doubters out there to buy some hiking shoes and go on their first walk. But mostly I hope you will be entertained. Now the Trek told me that a great blog is 500 words long. And I’m already over that but I have told you very little about myself. So here’s the gist of it: I’m a 30-year-old Dutch woman who loves fries with mayonnaise, dogs, and 80s music. For the last couple of years, I have been working as a human rights/sustainability lobbyist. Still, the COVID-pandemic, turning 30, going through a break-up after 6 years of relationship, and feeling dissatisfied with my work has left me in need of an adventure. Hence I’m flying off to California in May and I hope to meet some of you on here or on the trail!

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Comments 6

  • Jhony : Nov 20th

    What a great post. This old coot looking forward to learning about your adventure

    • Kelly Groen : Nov 25th

      Thank you so much!

  • Eric Matthews : Nov 25th

    Hey Kelly –

    Fantastic blog. Congrats on deciding to hike the PCT. Kudos for having the courage to try something so daunting.

    I love hiking too – especially in the western states of the US.

    Cant wait for your next blog.

    Eric Matthews

    • Kelly Groen : Nov 30th

      Hi Eric, thank you so much for your kind words!

  • Maricela park : Nov 26th

    Congrats! Look forward to reading your blog. If you end up stopping thru Ridgecrest CA and need a place or ride let me know. I love hearing the tales of PCT hitchhikers I sometime give rides too when I hike in the Eastern Southern Sierras. I consider myself a scared hiker too. Yet…I keep going back. Lol

    • Kelly Groen : Nov 30th

      Thank you so much! Will definitely keep that in mind 🙂 I know right, can’t stop, won’t stop hiking!


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