Long Distance Hiking with No Experience

When I started hiking in 2019, I had maybe gone camping a handful of times, and never more than a night in a tent. I remember forgetting pillows and anything other than blankets and snack food. Oh, and wood for a fire where there wasn't any allowed.


I was not a good camper, so why did I want to attempt a thru-hike?


Well, life has thrown a lot at me throughout my short life of 24 years. After my grandmother passed away and I couldn't seem to hold a steady job due to crippling depression and anxiety. I had decided to stop talking to my family for a couple years (we have since reconnected) and I wanted time dedicated to working through my traumas. I figured a few thousand miles would give me plenty of time to sort through all the complex thoughts that were haunting me.


Turns out, I was right.



I will admit, that was my goal. Not to complete the entire thing, but to work on my mental health, (even though I'm still working on finishing the miles I haven't done). My peace in my mind was what I was looking for. I got more than I bargained for!


2019 was a record breaking snow year. California was covered in more snow then I thought it could even have. It did not occur to me that Southern California got snow, and lots of it. I never liked snow, but after two years of distance hiking, I have found an appreciation for snow travel. Though, I don't recommend hiking during a 3 week blizzard, trying to go 160 miles in one stretch, to avoid getting whited out at 12,500!




Though, if you do find yourself in crazy situations, please make it out alive, because it they do make incredible stories! This is me at the top of Forester Pass; the highest point on the PCT, with the fabulous view of clouds!


Each time I stopped hiking, I knew I was going to come back to it. I have found my thing. What I love to do, and I didn't even know I was capable of doing anything close to what I have accomplished in 1100 miles on both of my hikes; '19 & '20. I don't regret going on these hikes from the people I've met and everything I've seen. I've had faith in humanity restored on multiple occasions, too!


I was nervous when I first started hiking. I was nervous when I started the journey again, before the pandemic hit. Now with life moving forward and being so incredibly unstable, I'm already thinking of my next adventure. But first, I have to repair and make sure my family is stable and safe before I go.


If you are nervous about starting a new adventure, good! That usually means you are doing the right thing. If you aren't excitedly nervous to do that thing that's been calling you, maybe it's not really for you? The PCT called to me for years, before I got the courage to finally leap into the unknown. So be afraid, turn that fear into excitement because you know you will grow so much faster this way. You don't know what you are made of, but you are about to find out!


So go! Get off this page and make that commitment to yourself. Go out and grow into the new person you want to be!!


-Taogoi


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