Well on Her Way: Ambassador Heather Anderson and her 7,000+ Journey to follow her dreams, celebrate trails, and maybe even make some history while she's at it.


by Lyndsay Hupp September 24, 2018

How many of us wake up every day and do what we are meant to do? To know what that even is is one thing, to live it is another. Heather Anderson knows she is meant to hike. This passion has led her down many trails… long trails, over and over, and faster than just about anyone. In 2003 she did her first thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT). In 2013 she broke the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for an unsupported thru-hike on the 2,700 mile Pacific Crest Trail, and in 2015 did the same thing on the AT. By the beginning of this year, she had hiked the 3 major National Trails--AT, PCT, and Continental Divide Trail (CDT)—twice.
And she wanted to keep going. In 2017 she fully committed to attempt to hike the 7,000+ mile route known as the Triple Crown: AT, PCT, and the CDT in one calendar year. Only 4 men have ever accomplished the feat: Flyin’ Brian, Squeaky, Cam “Swami” Honan, and Legend. No women, yet…
Not only will her hike be her own personal journey to celebrate, but will also coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Act—the first legislature outlining a strategy to create and manage trails in the U.S.
Heather has been forthcoming with insight to her experiences on the trail, preparation, and inspirations through her blogwebsite, and Instagram page.
I caught Heather in transit to the CDT a couple weeks ago and she was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about her journey thus far…

 

When did you a) conceive of this idea and b) when did you commit to it?

I first came up with the idea when I heard about "Flyin' Brian" Robinson's first completion of the route when I was only 22. I knew I wanted to do it, but life too me some other routes. I finally committed to it 14 years later in the winter of 2017.

How many miles done and how many to go?

Miles are hard since there are lots of varying route choices on the CDT and I've had to do alternates around fires on the PCT. But, I'm 2/3 done.

Did you meet any resistance with this idea, from life, others, etc?

Not exactly. It's been hard for my partner and I to create a way for my dream to come to fruition while remaining fair to him and his needs, but he's fully supportive. So far we've been successful.

How important is the social media aspect of this endeavor to you/the endeavor? What if it wasn’t there, how would the experience be different?

Social media is something I do because I feel like there's a value to it. I'm an intensely private person, but as a result of my FKTs I realized that there are so many people out there that have been positively impacted and encouraged by my sharing. So I keep doing it. I think the greatest thing in life is to live true to yourself and be a positive force in other people's lives. So, as odd as it is to me, a non social media consumer, to be a social media presence it's worth it. Honestly if everyone stopped following me my experience wouldn't change. I always do what I want for myself. I'd probably just take a few less pictures. 

How do you feel?

Tired, but otherwise good.

Biggest surprise of this hike?

Being able to share so much of it with my partner.

When/where do you feel the best out there on the trail?

Sunny days above treeline

Any gear epiphanies along the way?

Not really. I have a pretty good idea of what works for me at this point. I'm still trying different things though, some I like and some I don't. Nothing major though.

Noticed any transformations within yourself so far? How do you differ on this hike vs other long hikes you’ve accomplished?

I've definitely noticed that my preferences on tails have shifted. I am a much bigger fan of remoteness and choosing my own route than I used to be.

Toughest part? Easiest part? Best part?

 TBD...

What was the hardest moment so far?

 Walking away from my partner.

Your mantra when going gets rough?

 You do this because it's fun.

Favorite Huppybar flavor? When to eat?

 Definitely love them for breakfast. Apple Cinnamon Raisin. Never gets old.

What does hiking mean to you? Where does the drive in you come from to keep it going?

 Hiking is just what I'm meant to do. 

How have the trails/users/thru-hiker scene changed since began your first long hike? Any issues there?

 There are far more people on the trail these days. I've noticed some LNT issues on the PCT, but aside from that hikers are still hikers.




Lyndsay Hupp
Lyndsay Hupp

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