Q & A : My Hike To San Francisco
What trail are you hiking?
I am hiking the American Discovery Trail.
Are you hiking the entire trail?
I am hiking the last leg of the trail from Denver, CO to San Francisco, CA.
Are you going with a group?
Who are you going with?
I will be hiking alone.
I guess you watched the movie Wild?
I have watched the movie Wild because I fell in love with the book when I read it. Cheryl Strayed’s story was one that inspired me to begin my own research and plan my own journey. The next three months are not an imitation of the movie Wild. The next three months are mine.
How long is it going to take you?
I have to complete the trail in three months.
Where will you sleep?
What will you eat?
Oatmeal, Instant Mac n Cheese, Instant Mashed Potatoes, Jerky, Trail Mix, Etc.
How are you going to take a shower?
I won’t. I will have “bath wipes” and natural sources of water. I hope to stay in a hotel every couple weeks to write and take an actual shower.
How will you communicate? Will you have your cell phone?
I am bringing my cell phone but service will be unreliable at times. I will be reaching out to my family every chance I get.
Will there be other hikers on the trail?
I’m sure there will be but who knows?
Aren’t you scared of wild animals?
Yes and curious about when I encounter them. Hoping for cool experiences. I am carrying bear deterrent with me for emergencies.
Are you packing a gun?
That was my initial plan but after researching licensing laws in western states, I decided against it. I will be carrying a knife that my friend, Mary, bought for me.
What about your job?
I quit my job.
Are you returning to Wet Seal when you finish?
I do not plan on going back to Wet Seal after the hike.
What are you going to do for work when you get back?
I don’t have that answer yet.
Didn’t you just buy a house?
Where will Lane be staying?
Lane will spend the summer at Grandma’s house, like every other summer. The only difference is I will be hiking, not working.
How are you feeling about being a FEMALE hiking alone?
I FEEL FUCKING PHENOMENAL. I still don’t understand this question. I will have the same resources that a male would have. I will experience the same vulnerability that a male hiker would. I will sleep on the same ground that male hikers have slept on. I do not foresee any threats from humanity on this journey. Know that I am not scared to use a knife or beat the living shit out of someone who intends to hurt me.
I want to REALLY LIVE. Worrying about what could happen to you on the freeway or out in the wilderness doesn’t allow much life to happen. Fear encloses you in a cage. No human should live their life in a cage.
I leave in six days to start this journey of a lifetime! I have created a Paypal account for those who would like to donate to my trip. If you want to buy me a burger or a bed along the trail, you can do so through the "Donate" tab on my homepage. I would be so grateful! I am overwhelmed by the consistent support/encouragement/love I have received during my preparation. I can't wait to start walking in Denver. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
ALL MY LOVE
Do you remember when you introduced me to the Rolling Stones in your blue truck? I do. Thank you for that. Thank you for showing me what rock and roll was! To this day, we don’t just listen to good shit; we talk about how the good shit makes us feel. You’ll never know how much our musical analysis means to me.
Kool & The Gang
Earth, Wind & Fire
The Allman Brothers
The list goes on and on…
Your salt and pepper hair allures the young and the old. It is forever cool.
I can only remember painting my nails once when I was younger; I was so incredibly frustrated because there was more bright green polish on my skin than on my nails. You heard my pitiful sobs and came to the rescue. With the two of us working on them, they had to be some kind of ugly. That didn’t matter because you helped me calm down.
I can still smell the perm solution you put on my hair. I don’t remember if that was your decision or mine. Either way, let’s never do that again.
I remember when it was possible for you to swing your leg above my head, what started that? Your aerobic sessions?
Remember when I wouldn’t kneel in mass and you would get pissed?
I had to have been thirteen when we were loading feed at CO-OP and I broke my bracelet. Without thinking, I said, “DAMN!” You looked at me and asked, “So, you gonna start talking like that now?”
Do you remember when you caught me “sneaking in” the house wearing white eyeliner and a full face of make-up in the middle of the night? “I was checking the mail” seemed like a good response at the time.
At one point, your number was saved in my flip phone as “OH SHIT”. I can’t describe the fear I felt when I saw that call at 3am.
“JODI! Are you drunk?? Are you smokin’ that pot?? Get your ass home!”
I’ll never forget you whipping my ass with a belt at sixteen because I wouldn’t give you my truck keys.
I told you I was pregnant and all you could say was, “It’s a big responsibility.” Then you went outside to feed the cows. Thank you for quickly coming around and supporting your baby with a baby.
I always loved it when I was almost asleep and I could hear your feet shuffling across the living room floor.
You’d say, “Night peach.”
I love how soft your skin is. You always smell good.
I love how proud you get when you barbeque chicken or when you keep flowers alive.
You’re the only person I know who can wake up before the sun, run eight miles, work a full day pouring your heart and soul into a class full of inmates, ride all three horses, feed, clean up the house and prep to do it all again the next day. You’re a fucking machine.
Thank you for giving me an appreciation for horses and the beauty they carry inside and out. I will always think of you whenever I smell saddles and feed.
Did I mention rock and roll? THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME ROCK AND ROLL.
Thank you for helping me buy my first home. I would not have been able to accomplish that without you. You are beyond smart.
Thank you for being such a solid and invested JJ. Lane obsesses over you.
You’re the most generous woman on earth. You give your time, heart and soul. Don’t ever stop being Jacque; the world would feel it. I am so proud of your accomplishments and aspirations. Congratulations on the new job. You are unstoppable. You are so deserving.
Thank you for guiding me through life when I felt like I didn’t want to leave my bed. You have always been my number one fan. You have never stopped cheering. You have always empowered me.
As Sly & The Family Stone says…THANK YOU FOR LETTIN’ ME BE MYSELF.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Love you Augustus.
I begin my journey from Denver, CO to San Francisco, CA in twenty-nine days. It hasn’t settled in my brain yet; thoughts of me being alone in the wilderness have been floating around like clouds. There are people that think I am crazy and seriously derailed. That’s ok. I am. However, I believe I am destined down this path, this trail.
Planning has been stressful. I do not know what I would do without Maranatha and Mary dedicating their time to help me configure routing, resources, survival etc. Those women are my angels. Our sisterhood has a certain sting that is without comparison.
We studied all four states looking for red flags, permits needed, harsh conditions and any other useful information for my anxious high. I am so thankful we did. Utah and Nevada are in their fourth year of record-breaking drought so limited water was a consistent issue during our planning. The mileage between resourceful stops is not doable for a novice hiker in the dead of summer. One trick is to drive throughout that part of the trail and bury your water in the desert along the way, prior to your start; this is not feasible for me at the time.
I connected with the state coordinator of Utah and had a life changing conversation with her, she was exactly who I needed to speak with. Then she asks, “Jodi, would you consider cutting out Utah as a whole?” My immediate response was prideful shock and denial. I explained to her that I have been planning to hike across four states while reaching an accomplished trek of a four-digit number of miles. I’ve been set on those two goals and not willing to bend much.
I’ll never forget when she said, “Jodi, I live here and even people that live here do not hike long distance during the heat of the day in the summer months, we just don’t.” It felt like my heart was in my stomach for a good five minutes. She was so understanding and helpful; we began planning my new route.
I will hike the entirety of the trail in Colorado until I reach Utah’s border. When I reach Utah’s border, I will turn around to hike back to Grand Junction, CO. Lane will be meeting Mommy there! From Grand Junction, we will ride the Amtrak throughout the desert and into Reno, NV; we are pumped for the trip. After some rest in Reno, my family will send me out on the last leg of the trail. I will hike from Reno to San Francisco to end my journey. As I mentioned earlier, it’s imperative that I achieve four digits worth of mileage. My heart must have that. I will be in search of side trips in Colorado and California to add to my miles; I have no doubt that I will come across many beautiful opportunities to leave the beaten path.
I admit to feeling “wimpy” when my plans changed; I have been so transfixed on making it through Utah and Nevada. I’ve had to remind myself over and over of the peace that I felt when I spoke with Lynne (Utah Coordinator) that day on the phone. I had to remind my stubborn ass that the new plan provides a fun journey for Lane and I to share together in the middle of my trek. I had to remind myself that I am NOT an invincible camel who can survive days in the desert without water.
Weido assured me that my route change did not make me a wimp, by any means. I believed her and moved on.
Lionhearted means to be exceptionally courageous or brave. In twenty-nine days, I will be removed from the comforts of my territory to start a journey into the unknown. No matter the amount of preparation or planning, I am approaching a summer full of surprises.
Mind be strong.
Steps be courageous.
“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” – C. JoyBell C.