Why in the World Am I Walking 2,650 Miles?
I’ve always had an adventurous spirit and try to live life by pursuing the things that interest me, no matter the challenge. I grew up knowing of the Appalachian Trail; I even knew a few distant friends that thru-hiked the entire thing. However, it wasn’t until my friends in grad school started introducing me to backpacking that I realized I had a deep passion for it. In 2019, one of my close friends took on the challenge of a lifetime and set off to thru-hike the AT. A couple of our friends and I joined him on a four-day trip along the AT through the Nantahala National Forest. This was my first true, multi-day backpacking trip, and it killed me! It was the coolest, hardest, most wonderful, toe-nail losing, blister-filled adventure I’d ever been on, and I loved it! Okay, maybe I type II fun loved it…after the blisters subsided. Either way, I was hooked!
After that trip, I learned a lot, like the fact that my shoes were horribly misfitted (hence the missing toenails and blisters) and that I was, and am, way tougher than I think. Fast forward a little bit: I graduated, my friend completed the AT (Woohoo! In case you were wondering), I moved to a new city, got a job with awesome coworkers, and all of a sudden I realized that I wasn’t truly happy; or at least not as happy as I thought I should have been. Something was missing. I felt like my life appeared to be laid out before me and my opportunity to do big adventures had come to an end, at least for the foreseeable future. I was looking for something, a way to reconnect to the version of myself I felt like I was losing.
Being in nature has always brought me a sense of peace when I am stressed; it makes me the kind of happy where I can’t wipe the smile off my face, and the thought of taking on a thru-hike across the country makes me feel like I’m living my life rather than simply existing in it. That’s when I caught the thru-hiking itch, and the ideas of attempting my own thru hike began. Over time, that itch turned into a full-fledged poison ivy rash that I couldn’t cure (is my trail metaphor getting out of hand yet?). As my boyfriend would say, it turned into my obsession. I would jump at any and every opportunity to hit the trail and hone my backpacking skills.
In taking on my own thru-hike, I realized that I wanted to attempt the Pacific Crest Trail because of how vastly different it was from anything I had ever done before; new landscapes, ecosystems, and scenery I’d never seen. I dove into researching and buying gear, finding places to do shakedown trips, and even attempted to dehydrate my own meals (dehydrating meals takes a lot of time!). The more invested I became, the more this idea of attempting my own thru hike manifested itself into a reality. It almost felt like everywhere I turned in my present life, I would get signs that this was meant to happen. Fortunately, through determination and a little bit of luck, I now have the opportunity to make this dream a reality!
This spring I will start my journey at the Southern Terminus in Campo, California, and begin making my way to Canada! Stay tuned for updates!
Lesson I’ve learned while prepping for the hike:
There is always something I still need to check off my “To Do” list in prepping for this hike.
Weird food craving I got:
Writing about dehydrating my own food made me crave the dried mango slices from Trader Joes.
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The dried mango slices from Trader Joe’s are the best…I always bring them along on my day hikes…best to you on the PCT
They are my favorite! Thanks for the well wishes!
Good luck girl,cheers from the sidelines.