Pancakes (Elise)

Mile 2,591


(1) Where are you from?

Houston, Texas

(2) What day did you start?

March 21st 2018

(3) What day did you finish?

November 8th 2018

(4) Do you have a trail name?


(5) If so, where did it come from?

While staying at "Mike's Place" in the dessert, I volunteered to make pancakes while the caretaker, Josh, was working on things around the property. The pancakes turned out great enough for him to dub me "Pancakes".

(6) What did you dream of when things weren’t going well?

For me, it was all about listening to a good distraction when things were hard. I listened to many audiobooks, podcasts, and occasionally music. Favorite audiobooks were Dune, Adrift, Skeletons on the Sahara, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and my favorite podcasts were Stuff You Should Know and Real Time with Bill Maher.

(7) Did you experience anything miraculous?

Miraculous? Hmm... I suppose it was a miracle I never had bad blistering or foot injury!

(8) Any memorable encounters with the elements, or wildlife?

The first time I saw a black bear wasn't until the very first day hiking in Washington. We, Noms and I, thought we were just too loud together and would never see one. Day one in Washington I turn a corner on a windy day and a flash of black fur climbs up a tree. "Bear!", I shouted to Noms. I barely had time to take out my phone and earplugs to get a video of him swaying in the tree, not quite out of site. He was obviously startled and only the size of a large dog, like a great dane or greyhound. He was scared too and peed himself while "hiding" in the tree. Poor thing!

(9) Think back to your “pre-hike self.” Now think of yourself here at the end. Has anything changed?

My pre-hike self was over seven months ago, it's hard to remember exactly how I was. I suppose not much has changed. My boyfriend and I started this hike intending to get ourselves out of Houston, and if we made it through the hike, get married. We're back in Texas for now, but we did get married! We had been together before the PCT for more than three years and lived together for the past two, so we already knew each other well. We're still very much in love, and still wish to travel more and move somewhere that offers us the great outdoors every weekend, if not every day. If I had to pin-point a specific thing that's changed about me, it would be my patience. I've got a lot more patience, especially for my husband and the start of our new life together.

(10) Now that you are off the trail, what do you miss most about it?

Even with a full stomach and a glass of wine, I miss the junk food. My partner and I really pigged out on the trail AND in town... We split a bag of chips each day, devoured desserts for dinner and lunch, and ate at least 1600 calories of snacks per day. When we got to town, we went to town. Hello curly-fries, bacon cheeseburgers, Oreo milkshakes, reuben sandwiches... etc. 

(11) Before you started, what were you most afraid of?

Falling off Forrester Pass.

(12) Now that you are finished, what are you most afraid of?

Hypothermia. Cutthroat Pass was extremely difficult, and that's putting it lightly.

(13) What’s the difference between life on the trail and life off the trail?

Work, work, work... Time to get paid! Very few people can support themselves while hiking, and even those who have a YouTube Channel like Dixie return home for a seasonal job. Alas, I must find a new job to pay for future travels.