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, at the beginning of April, I will be crossing the ocean to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Even though the start date of my hike is still one month, 18 days, 11 hours, and 50 minutes 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 six 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 three 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 cathole, 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 six 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 April and I hope to meet some of you on here or on the trail!
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