Hi! I’m Rachel. Aside from a camping trip when I was eight (READ: sleeping in the car after seeing a daddy long leg), I did not grow up camping. I grew up in Atlanta, GA, not aware that one of my future passions would be carrying all my belongings in a backpack and hiking through the mountains with no cell service.
I did, however, grow up with parents who taught me to dream big and that no challenge was insurmountable. And maybe, just maybe, that is why I find myself here today, writing this post, as I prepare to embark on an adventure of a lifetime along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Empowered by Camping
My first “real” camping experience was day 1 of a solo month-long road trip visiting 8 national parks after graduating college in 2019. Feeling out of my comfort zone, I surprised myself with how quickly I felt at peace with the innate simplicity and challenge of my daily routine to pack and unpack camp, cook and wash dishes without facilities, and attempt (and often fail) to outsmart mother nature’s rain, hail, and high winds. I quickly realized how humbling AND empowering it was to be self-sufficient in the outdoors. I also became inspired and encouraged by the people that I met along my journey sharing meals, hiking together, and conversing by the campfire. My eyes fully opened to a community and a lifestyle that I wanted to be a part of my life.
This road trip created a pattern of embracing the area outside my comfort zone.
I sought every opportunity to soak up that peaceful feeling that I experienced while camping. During COVID, I took advantage of remote working and moved from Washington D.C. to Denver, CO. My hobbies began to expand and escalate from day hikes to weekend backpacking trips to a 100-mile section hike of the Colorado Trail…until I gave into the next “full send” adventure in my mind.
The Pacific Crest Trail Dream is Born
What if I can hike the 2,650 miles stretching between Mexico and Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail in one hiking season? At first thought, the PCT is a physical challenge to hike 20+ miles a day for 5 months. But when really thinking about thru hiking the PCT, the complex logistics began to draw me in:
- How do I prepare for the physical, mental, and emotional toll?
- How do I stay motivated through the hard steps, miles, days?
- How do I strategize how to get the food, gear, and water that I need along the way?
- AND mostly, how do I approach pressing “pause” on normal life (work, apartment, car, friends, family, relationships) and prepare to live on trail for 5 months?
I will be honest, I am, like you maybe, reading blogs, books, and maps, and I have a LOT of lists.
Preparation Starts Now!
Until I step onto the trail at the Mexico border the first week of May 2023, I will be working through the logistics to answer these questions with my trusty excel spreadsheets and training my body and mind to adjust to life on the trail.
I feel lucky to find myself a part of this weird and very special little community who shares a big dream to attempt to hike an entire national scenic trail from end to end. I cannot wait to meet all of you, share stories, and take on this dream together!
I am looking forward to sharing more about all of these topics, my personal experience preparing for my first ever thru hike attempt, my mission to spread Mental Health Awareness (more on this later!), and all the highs, lows, and lessons learned along the way.
Until then, happy trails!
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