2,100 miles down, 500 to go! Flip-flopping (a.k.a. hiking a long trail in large, non-contiguous sections) is a style of thruhiking that really works for me because I like doing things my own way. However, flip-flopping does have its drawbacks…
Back in May, after walking almost 800 miles north on the PCT from the Mexico border, I got to the base of Mount Whitney during a snowstorm. Realizing that a Whitney ascent wasn’t going to happen for me then, I sat in my tent and cried. The next day, I bailed out of the High Sierra, vowing that I would come back to do the John Muir Trail section (which extends from Yosemite to Mount Whitney) in the summer. I was determined to finish hiking my home state atop Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. The mountain had evaded me once but it was going to happen, dammit…
When you’re working towards a big goal, you will inevitably experience trials and tribulations. Life doesn’t always go your way—and that’s a good thing. If it did, you wouldn’t innovate and grow. You wouldn’t appreciate the little victories nearly as much. So this is just a reminder that whatever you’re struggling with right now on your path is part of a bigger story. Zoom out and take a deep breath. You’ll make it through.
The “halfway blues” is a common malady for long distance hikers. The middle of a thruhike can be tough. The honeymoon phase has long since worn off and our days on the trail feel defined by routine and monotony. It’s at this point in our hikes that we have to remind ourselves of why we wanted to do this crazy journey in the first place…
There’s been a lot of talk recently about “bro culture” on long trails and in the outdoor industry in general. Last week, I experienced it firsthand on the Pacific Crest Trail—and the outcome wasn’t what I expected.
For the past two days, I’ve hiked completely alone for the first time on my Pacific Crest Trail thruhike. Sure, there are lots of other hikers around—but I know none … Continue reading It’s OK to Need People.
Hiking thousands of miles and living outdoors for months isn’t always easy or fun. In fact, it’s uncomfortable most of the time. But that’s what makes moments of sheer joy like my experience on San Jacinto Mountain so profound. In my 31 years on this planet, I haven’t found anything else that makes me feel so alive.
There is nothing quite like a rattlesnake to snap you out of your head and into my body. On Sunday, April 1st, I had my first encounter with an enormous Western Diamondback while hiking out of Scissors Crossing on the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m grateful for this snake for reminding me to pay attention to my surroundings and get out of my head. Being in your body means being present. At any moment, you could be challenged to take swift and immediate action in order to stay alive.
Traveling long distance by foot gives you a new perspective on immigration. Moving around is what humans have done for most of our history on Earth. We migrate. And it’s not just us—all animals move around in search of better access to food, water and shelter. To restrict where humans and animals can go by erecting fences and walls denies this primal urge to move on in search of something better. What gives us the right to carve up the planet like this?
Feeling your best doesn’t just mean “looking good.” It means, first and foremost, cherishing and nurturing the body that you’re in. It means, instead of holding yourself to some standard of external beauty, holding yourself to a certain standard of self-care. Is there something you can do this year that will get you out of your head and into the “soft animal of your body”—even just for a moment? If so, my friend, I urge you to do it. The world around you will be better for it.