I've known for awhile that I wanted to hike the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) but it wasn't until I moved to San Diego that my dream was finally able to become reality. When I fist told people about my endeavor I was faced w disapproval and negativity. The only person who supported my decision was my Dad. It was understandable though. I mean hiking 2,655 miles as a solo female... I could see where people had their doubts. So I decided to write a letter and send it out to all my friends and family to get them on board. I wanted them to understand where I was coming from and what was going through my head. For those of you who are just now joining this blog here is "The Letter" that I sent out......
Dear Family and Friends, (Brace yourselves this is LONG)
She's at it again. I'm pretty sure I've never let anything hold me back. I've overcome a lot in my life so far (and it's only been 21 years). We all know I set my goals big. This time it's 2,655 miles big. I'm thru-hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) on April 20th. Now for those who have no idea what this means don't feel bad neither did my Mom and I'm her daughter.
I will be backpacking (I'll use the word hiking interchangeably) the entire trail which starts at Campo, CA aka the Mexican Border. From there I'll walk north through CA, OR, and WA, arriving at the Northern Terminus in Manning Park, Canada! That's right folks Mexico to Canada. Yes.. Walking the ENTIRE way. I'll carry everything I need on my back. How will I eat you ask? I'm going to hunt and fish. There are numerous berries and edible plants readily available, not to mention mushrooms! Just Kidding!! haha my Mom is in charge of my "resupply boxes." This means that she will ship me boxes of food, shoes, clothes, goodies, letters, etc. I will go into town approximately every 3-5 days and "resupply." I'll carry that portion of food until I reach my next point. I will continue doing this the entire length of the trail.
My mom (sorry Mom) asked if I was taking my car, Honey. I laughed. No, I will not take my car. I'm going to be in some of the most beautiful BACKCOUNTRY in the US. I will be on a dirt/ rock/ snow trail roughly 1 foot wide. WALKING the entire time. No car.
My mom asked if I was sleeping in a hotel each night. hahaha silly Mom. No. I'm going to carry a tent with me and I'm sleeping out on the trail every night for roughly 5 1/2 months. Yes, I really did just say almost half a year.
My mom asked who I was going with. Okay, okay I'll give this one to her. I'm traveling solo. BUT!! I am starting at "kick-off" Yes, this thing really has a kick off. Pretty much everyone starts at the same time. Therefore I will be starting off my trek w approximately 300 other people. So, am I going solo? Yes. Will I be alone? No. Don't worry guys. Trust me. hahaha
So just to recap: I'm thru-hiking the PCT (2,655 miles) starting on April 20th to sometime in September. I'll cover approximately 20-30 miles per day, except in the Sierras when snow travel will greatly slow my mileage. I'll get up early and walk till sunset. Can you say great legs?! ; ) I'm hiking through 3 states, 7 national parks, and 25 national forests.
Now I'm sure most of you are asking yourself "why?" Everyone has their own reason and here's mine.
Pretty much all of you know I haven't lead an "easy" life thus far. Let's take a journey back through my past and discover what has lead me to this "crazy" undertaking together. Just so everyone can get a glimpse into who I am, and what's going through my head.
Freshman- Sophomore Summer of High School:
During a water polo game I received a blow to my right temple. Little did we know at the time how much this would change my life. The doctors say the words Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I'm 15 years old. I'm not sure what it means. I slept 23 hours a day for weeks. My mom had to forcibly wake me up, just to have me not know my surrounds and immediately fall back asleep. Then to immediately go through everything again. She had to force to me eat and get up to use the restroom. I tried going back to school and realized I couldn't remember anything nor could I keep up with what the teachers were saying or the material being handed out. My mom took me to a rehab facility every week for months on end. I had intensive speech, occupational, and physical therapy. I slowly began healing. But nothing touched the pain. Excruciating pain every single day 24/7 which still continues to this day.
I've tried over 50 different medications to help control the headaches. Because of where I was hit... nothing works. I'm unresponsive to medications aka they don't work on me. Yes, I'm well aware I'm an oddball. I've been tested and prodded much like a lab rat for many years. Still no relief. It's taken 6 years but I've managed to work through the pain. The old saying "life must go on" couldn't be any truer.
With the help of an amazing angel, Elaine DaSilva, I was able to graduate High School on time. I was taught by Elaine from my house for the remaining 3 years of high school. I missed out on pretty much everything a "normal" teen gets to experience. But with my hard work and determination to succeed and not let anything hold me back, I graduated. Class of 09' BABY! I was over 200 credits behind and I caught up. I was able to walk with all my friends I had grown up with.
Those 3 years were by far the hardest times I've had to endure. In addition to the TBI there were numerous other catastrophic things I had to overcome a lot of which I wont mention. My entire life had changed. I had lost all of my friends. I couldn't use my brain the way I was used to. My memory was shot to shit. The two loves that had helped me through everything vanished. Soccer and Water-polo. I was told I would never be able to play contact sports again. (Thanks to my stubborn, independent, hard headed ways, thankfully that wasn't completely true). I had to relearn so many things. Finally, life started looking up.
I moved out to San Diego and started life on my own. Because I was so reliant on my mom for everything during those years, the second I had independence I took it and ran. I've never looked back since. My independence is the one thing I have. It means the world to me, because I know what it's like to be fully dependent on another individual. I will never let go.
Just as I was starting to cope and live a "normal" life I get the news that I had Pediatric Melanoma (Skin Cancer). Go figure. I've gone through 10 surgeries. Keep in mind Sara's an oddball and medication doesn't work on me. So when I have surgery it hurts like all hell. Life keeps dealing me this shitty hand of cards but I don't stop playing the game.
When I'm out in nature, hiking I feel at peace. I feel ALIVE. I feel the freedom and independence which I yearn for. I can't really explain it other than I feel at "home." It just feels right. That's what this hike is for me. The opportunity to get out there and live, really live the life I have, while I still can. We never know what lies around the next corner. If you asked me at the age of 14 where I would be when I was 21 I would have said playing water-polo on a full ride scholarship (which was possible). God makes his own plans for you. I don't know how long I'm going to be here for, but I sure as hell am going to live each day to its fullest. I have the opportunity to get out there experience pristine beauty. And I'm taking it. Who can argue w that? Exactly!
Moving back on track to the trail.... I need you guys. I'm calling on my family and friends to walk this journey w me. I wouldn't be where I am right now if it wasn't for each and every one of you. You all hold a very special spot in my heart.
Hiking this costs a lot of money. From gear to food, everything adds up. Being a starving college student I'm working my tail off to try and come up w everything. But lucky you I am accepting donations : ) hahaha Every little bit helps.
Don't you fret! There are other ways you can help too! When I'm on trail I would LOVE baked goods, protein bars, candy bars, shot blocks, etc! You can get in touch w me and my mom and she will ship them out in my resupply boxes. You can only imagine how big of an appetite I'll have hiking 20-30 miles every day for 5 1/2 months. Those goodies will surely keep my belly happy and my spirits high.
For those of you who are not so great in the kitchen (sorry Dre) you can send me letters. There's nothing better than getting mail from your loved ones. Am I right or am I right?!?
If these don't sound like something you can do.. Meet me on the trail! I'm still working on where I'll be and on what days. You can expect the list of my resupply points within the next few weeks. You can join and hike some of the PCT too! : ) Being able to experience this with you guys would be the ultimate gift.
I've been sending out sponsorship requests like crazy. I've gotten a few bites. Mostly just discounts on food and what not. My big sponsors to date are: Thorlo Socks (They sent me a big box of insanely nice hiking socks) and Simblissity (The owner is sending me gaiters so debris will stay out of my shoes etc). If you all could get word of mouth out about my adventure that would mean a lot to me. The more people involved the better this will be. I'm sending this to the Clovis News stations soon. Go big or go home right? The more help I have the easier it will be to hike from Mexico to Canada... like it's gonna be easy *shakes head* hahahaha
Nothing can beat the love and support that I get from you guys. Thank you so much for always being there for me and supporting me in my sometimes "crazy" endeavors. I've overcome so much already, let's add another feat to my list. I hope I was able to clear up any questions you guys had. If there's anything else you would like to know just shoot me an email or give me a call. I love you all!
I'm in the process of setting up a blog so everyone can live vicariously through me while I'm out there. I'll update when I have service in towns. It'll be just like everyone is there with me!
Thank you guys so much for everything! Remember to forward this to as many people as possible! Tell everyone! I'd love to hear from you all! Here's to hiking the PCT! Sorry for the length hahaha : P
3591 Roosevelt St # 202
Carlsbad, CA 92008
If anyone wants to directly help out with gear here's a list of things I need. I’m setting up a “wish list” registry because people keep asking me “how can I help?”
For those receiving this through email I set up a facebook group so everyone can join. Here’s the link... almost 500 members in less than 24 hours!
My hopes were that not only would people support me in my decision, but that others would also take a look at me and realize that they have the strength to follow their dreams as well. I can't wait for this journey to start! All the planning is tedious work but the pay off is going to be worth it! Sit back and relax as you follow me through my journey of the Pacific Crest Trail!