Published July 25, 2017 on TheTrek.co
In 2016, I launched a fundraising campaign inviting my community to be a part of my pilgrimage on the Appalachian Trail. Thanks to the generosity and encouragement of over 200 contributors, I was able to embark on the soul-searching journey of a lifetime.
Now, it’s time to repay the universe for the abundance I experienced when I committed to hiking the AT. I’m thrilled to announce that I will be hiking the PCT northbound in 2018 to raise money for the empowerment of girls in nature! By walking from Mexico to Canada, I will support nonprofits that are helping young people, especially young women, gain confidence in themselves and in the outdoors.
Why This Matters To Me
During my solo “flip-flop” through-hike of the Appalachian Trail, I experienced excruciating foot pain, mind-blowing sunsets, freezing hail that pelted my skin until it was raw, and powerful conversations with fellow hikers who also felt that they didn’t quite fit into mainstream society. I learned not to compare myself to others who were hiking faster or slower than me, and to be gentle but steady in my self-discipline. I learned how to reason with Fear in a way that those of us who are born female aren’t typically invited or socialized to.
I learned to sleep alone in the middle of the forest without getting scared and how to keep my cool during wild animal encounters. I learned to trust and listen to my instincts in a way that I didn’t know was possible. I learned to let go when things didn’t go my way and to accept whatever the trail had in store for me. I learned to accept what my body looks like and to understand that how my body feels is what really matters.
Long-distance hiking is one of the last semblances of the great Hero’s Journeys and rites of passage that have defined people’s lives for thousands of years. Humans are not meant to be sedentary or trapped behind computers and inside of offices, cars and isolated nuclear family households day in and day out. We are a migratory species. “We move, therefore we are.” (Take that, Descartes!) We are meant to be part of our ecosystems and the wider human experience in ways that have been all but lost.
In my experience, long periods of time spent moving through nature—both alone and surrounded by a tribe of people also experiencing the same forward momentum—is one of the most healing activities that modern people, especially women, can do to reconnect to themselves and to the planet.
For this reason, I am passionate about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 to raise awareness and funds for organizations that are empowering girls outdoors.
If you made it this far, you probably care about this cause. Thank you for your support and interest. Please scroll to the bottom of my website and click “Subscribe” to receive email updates, including an announcement when the fundraising platform goes live.
Let’s do this!