(1) Where are you from and how would you like to be identified?
I was born and grew up in Bangkok, capital of Thailand. With a population of over eight million, it’s the biggest and busiest city in the country. After I graduated, I’ve been working hard as same as other Thai does. With few days holiday per year, I was not able to travel too long (max.10 days in a roll) and I didn’t have a lot of connection with the nature but more with civilization.
After I got married and moved to a small town in Switzerland. I started to see the beauty of nature, not from the vision but with heart. And I felt in love with being outside and being close to the mother nature.
(2) Thinking back to your “day-1 self,” what is going through your mind at the start?
“Here you are, the day that you are waiting for. I am finally ON the PCT and hiking it”
(3) Do you feel ready?
My mind yes I am ready, but my body not really. Because when I was a child, I had asthma. I still can feel that my lungs are not that strong like the other. But I want to fight it and I want to win.
(4) What are you most afraid of?
Rattlesnake. No, actually all types of snakes. I am afraid of all types of snake and even scare when I see it on TV or from the Photos. And I know that there are tons of them in the desert.
And one thing is to get browner than I am now. Yes, it might be the dream of someone else to get tan skin but for me I was born tan and I am just a woman and sometime woman wants things that she doesn’t have. I decided to carry an umbrella, an extra weight, just because I want to be in the shadow as much as I can to avoid the sun.
Do I have something against the snakes? None. Because the desert is their home and I am just a visitor. I heard that if we don’t harm them, they will not attack us. So, I will give them respect and try to be calm when I see one.
(5) What are you most confident about?
I will never walk alone or feeling lonely in this trip. Because I hike with my husband (after 10 years married and we decided to hike the PCT together) and there’s a lot of hikers on the trail. So I look forward to getting to know them, to sharing the experiences and to enjoying the journey together.
(6) Does anybody not want you to go?
Yes, my parents and the most of my friends, but no one said that directly. They asked me “Why”. And then they said to me, I don’t have to hike the entire PCT. When I feel it is too much or too hard for me, I can stop every time I want. If my husband still want to hike on, let him hike and I could rent a car, drive to somewhere, enjoy the holiday and do that and that..bla bla bla. So, they are just worry about me or didn’t believe that I could make it (I didn’t believe myself either).
(7) What made you decide to take this hike?
I wanted to get to know me better. I wanted to know if I can control my body and soul in so many different conditions, to see if I can enjoy the simple life, to be close to the mother nature, and to experience the beauty of nature with my own eyes.
(8) What do you expect to get from it?
(9) Have you ever done anything like this before?
(10) What have you done to prepare?
I hiked a lot more than normally. I changed a lot of my gear to Ultra-Light. I started to eat the food which I am going to eat on the trail, just want that my body get used to it. And the most important thing is, I freed my mind.
(11) What are you looking forward to the most?
To be a PCT – Thru hiker.
Now answer from the present:
(12) When/where did you leave the trail?
I hike the entire trail even I asked myself sometime what I am doing here. When I am hungry, tired, having pain everywhere in my body or having bad mood, so I cry, I scream out loud. But I never think about leaving the trail.
Please put yourself in the mindset of standing at the Northern Terminus, having just completed the Pacific Crest Trail. Answer to the best of your ability and in as much or as little detail as you want, and feel free to skip any questions you don’t wish to answer.
(1) Where are you from?
Bangkok, Thailand but I am living in Switzerland.
(2) What day did you start?
(3) What day did you finish?
(4) Do you have a trail name?
Yes, “Girl-Cowboy” is my trail name.
(5) If so, where did it come from?
I wore a straw cowboy hat (I love cowboy style). First my husband called me Cowboy but a hiker who we hike with said, I should be called cowgirl coz I am a woman but I don’t feel comfortable to be called cowgirl, then he changed from cowboy to Girl-Cowboy. It’s funny for him, why not just cowgirl but girl-cowboy.
(6) What did you dream of when things weren’t going well?
I just think about how I am going to feel when I arrived to Canada, the moment that I touch the northern terminus and be proud of myself. If I give up right now I will not possible to know and experience that feeling. So, I need to keep moving and do my best. Everything is going to be just fine. Be patient!
(7) Did you experience anything miraculous?
Yes, all those trail magic and trail angel. They just helped us without wanting anything in exchange. I didn’t expect that so many people are impressed about the PCT hikers. It’s my honor to be a PCT hiker. Really!
(8) Any memorable encounters with the elements, or wildlife?
My first bear encounter was in Lassen National park. It was a blond mama bear and her brown cub (they are actually black bears). That was so close, about 20 meters away top. First I was scared and after I realized that they have no interest at us, my husband and I started to film and take a lot of photos. We stood there about 15 minutes, watching these two bears eating their lunch until they went away.
I had chances to see another two bears after that. One was right on the trail, it ran away when it saw me. The last one was in Washington. The bear was so black, standing in the middle of colorful autumn Huckleberry field. That was a beautiful contrast.
I saw so many dears, one morning in Yossemite Nationalpark, I saw 12 dears in 3 hours. One night, a group of dears came to my tent and stole my trekking poles. I chased them in the night, once I got my poles back, I realized that the wrist straps are broken and full of juice from their mouths. They want the salt from my poles.
I also saw a Moose in Washington close to the border to Canada, a lot of rattlesnake, scorpions and spiders in the desert. But I didn’t get hurt from any of them.
(9) Think back to your “pre-hike self.” Now think of yourself here at the end. Has anything changed?
I have more faith in me. Besides, I lost 10 kilos but gained a lot of muscle in my body and I feel stronger than ever.
(10) Now that you are off the trail, what do you miss most about it?
I miss the people that I’ve met and got to know them on the trail. Some people became my trail-family. There are so many great times that we've had together. We walk, we laugh, we talk, we camp together, we share and help each other. It is such a good memory.
(11) Before you started, what were you most afraid of?
All types of snakes and get tanner skin.
(12) Now that you are finished, what are you most afraid of?
Still all types of snakes and get tanner skin.
(13) What’s the difference between life on the trail and life off the trail?
Life on the trail is more excited. Everyday is something different. I see different things, I hike different terrains. Even I have to do the same thing everyday like “marathon walking”, but I never get bored of it.