Mary completed 1600 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail last year. Everyone earns a trail name, her's is Pillsbury. Since childhood, Pillsbury loved the baking icon, so she traveled with a mini Pillsbury dough-boy key chain on her pack. Mary didn't complete the entire PCT after numerous hurdles like: appendicitis, a spider bite, dog bite, debilitating foot injuries, and the final straw-- someone stole all her gear in October.
Pillbury's read "enjoy the little things." Then I asked what that meant to her?
"Life is made up of little moments. When I hiked the trail, it was about the birds singing everyday. It was about the trees, or this flower that was really pretty. The moments everyday because that's what it is, it's the little things that make life," she said.
Caroline, who's trail name is Puppy, completed the PCT in 2013, even after hiking 500 miles with a broken foot. A retired nurse, she now lives out of her Volkswagen van, traveling as a trail angel. Trail Angels surprise you with food and water, give you rides, and encourage you throughout all 2,600 miles.
Puppy's Rustic Cuff is engraved with "let your faith be bigger than your fears". It's the same saying as the bracelet I'm wearing throughout the thru-hike.
She warned me to not listen to "fear mongers". Fear mongers without hesitation ask you twenty questions. "Aren't you scared to hike alone?", "Do you carry a gun?", "What if it snows in the mountains?", "What happens if you break your leg?"
Puppy said, "The world provides. The trail provides... There's trail magic. If you're wanting a Twinkie one day, suddenly there will be a Twinkie in the middle of the trail. I had a craving for cheese one day, I came around the corner and these women were picnicking with a two-pound brick of cheddar on their table saying 'help yourself'. It's real, you'll see."