On September 24, 2015, Heather “Anish” Anderson set the new speed record for a self-supported thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, becoming the first person ever to simultaneously hold the record for both the AT and PCT. Less than 3 days later, she sat down with Trailside Radio to talk about her records and the obstacles she has overcome to achieve them.
Ratatouille encounters a rattlesnake and watches other hikers hitchhike past him. Interviews include a part-time trail angel, a group of tired hikers, and a young military veteran hiking as a way to cope with PTSD. A hiker entertains others at bedtime with his flute playing, and Ratatouille performs an original song about the PCT with his newfound ukulele skills.
Ratatouille heads north and interviews other hikers. Some are hiking for charitable causes. Others are hiking with family. One is making art… naked. One is airlifted out, but returns to tell the tale. An episode full of dehydration, fatigue, nosebleeds, and determination.
The song “Sunrise, Sun Arise” was written and performed by Lojo Russo. Used with permission.
The first episode of Trailside Radio! Two months before his big adventure, Ratatouille interviews PCT thru-hikers Paul “Blurr” Burdick (2013) and John “Cupcake” Brennan (2002) about trail culture, going the distance, and readjusting to life after a thru-hike. He also talks with his mother, Mary Hepokoski, about her wilderness experiences and the camping trips she took him on as a child.
Recording assistance provided by Ariana Rosales. Theme song by Nicholas Austin Skinner.
It’s official. I have my permit. In only ten weeks I’ll be at the Mexican border to start my 2,660-mile journey northward. Right now, that day feels like it’s a lifetime away, but if I’m not careful, it will be here before I’m ready.
Even though I have a fair amount of backpacking experience, I’ve been spending absurd amounts of time researching the trail. There are plenty of books to read, documentaries to watch, and online forums to browse. I’ve talked with people who have done the hike before, some of them multiple times. I attended a class at a local outdoor gear store. (Shout out to Gary at the Mountain Shop!) I’ve connected with other people who will also be doing their first thru-hike this year. I’m starting to develop a severe case of information overload.
Fortunately, I already have most of my gear. I recently bought a new backpack and I’m about to upgrade my hammock, but most of what I’m carrying will be the same equipment I’ve used in the past. While this will be my first long-distance thru-hike, I’ve done solo hikes as long as 300 miles, which has given me plenty of time to find my hiking style and dial in my gear. This definitely gives me a leg up in the preparation department.