Frequently asked questions, both real and imagined!
How do I contact you?
Where can I find you on social media?
Why don’t you allow comments anymore?
Because of comments like this one-
While I love and cherish all of the kind, generous, positive comments I’ve gotten on this blog over the years, what I love even more is the sweet, sweet peace that’s left behind when I no longer have to see/moderate comments like the one above. You can still contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org- trolls never seem to make it that far, ha!
You are a woman and yet you seem confident and unafraid of things. This makes me hate you. How can I send you hatemail in order to tear you down a notch?
I’m sorry you’re having a hard time. But attacking others will only make it harder for you to thrive, and eventually find your own happiness. Please listen to this segment of This American Life:
Aren’t you, like, a lesbian or something?
I’m queer. In my life I’ve been attracted to, and fallen in love with, men, women, genderqueer and transgender people.
My backpack is too heavy. What can I do?
Allow me to recommend the book Ultralight Backpacking Trips, by Mike Clelland. That is an excellent place to start.
You haven’t posted here in four days! Are you dead?!
No. Expect up to two weeks between posts when I’m on a trail. I also keep my posts at least four days behind, to protect my privacy and safety on the trail. Which brings us to…
Can I come “find” you on the trail?
Do you mean can you track down a stranger off the internet in the middle of the wilderness without her consent? If you do that, I will call the police.
How do you blog while on the trail?
I use the wordpress app on my phone, which for several years has been the Samsung Galaxy S series. You can save posts to the app and upload them when there’s service. Putting photos in posts is a pain on the android version of the wordpress app, so I use instagram for photos. (This phone is also my only camera, and I use the HDR setting to take decent landscape shots.) I keep my phone charged with an Anker external battery. On days that I don’t have time to write a full post I take notes, and write the post as soon as I have the chance.
What is the Pacific Crest Trail?
The PCT is a long, narrow ribbon of space-time that stretches from Mexico to the Canadian border.
I want to hike the PCT. Where do I find info?
Start on The Pacific Crest Trail Association’s website– there’s loads of info there.
Do you have to be fit, young or strong to do a thru-hike?
No, but you do have to really, really want it.
How much does it cost to thru-hike the PCT?
Between $3,ooo and $5,ooo. My hike was closer to $5,ooo because I sent myself dried vegetables, changed my shoes when they start to hurt my feet as opposed to when they were in tatters, bought all new gear for the trip, and ate no ramen. Everyone stays in hotel rooms sometimes- but you split the room with as many hikers as you can to make it cheap.
How do you afford your long-distance hiking lifestyle?
Seasonal jobs, some more lucrative than others. I also don’t own a car, didn’t got to college (so I have no loans to pay back), own few possessions, rarely eat out, have no health insurance, put off going to the dentist until it’s an emergency, don’t drink, and have lived in various budget dwellings such as a trailer in my friend’s driveway, a cabin without running water or electricity, and a shed full of spiders.
What’s the most important advice you’d give to next year’s thru-hikers?
Get your base weight below ten pounds (base weight is everything that you carry except food, water or fuel), hike with people who make you laugh, and never, EVER complain.
How the fuck do you deal with your period on the trail?
I wear pads. Lots of people like the diva cup.
How did you reconstruct each day in so much detail for your 2013 blog, even after the trail was over?
I took notes every day.
Aren’t you writing a book?
I want to buy your freight train book, Ten Thousand Miles by Freight Train. Where is it?
That novella was part of an e-book publishing experiment wherein I pasted together a bunch of freight train stories and published them on Amazon. But the stories are part of a larger, full-length work, and so I’ve withdrawn them from Amazon. The full-length work will be out in a few years. And I promise you, it will be worth the wait. You can read an excerpt here.
Can I live on the PCT?
You can live there for a little while, as long as you keep moving.
No but really, can I live there?
I wish. You have no idea how much I wish this.