Pretty Bird (Amanda)

Mile 2,591


(1) Where are you from?

Delta, OH. A small town close to Toledo.

(2) What day did you start?

My husband and I started hiking the PCT on April 22nd.

(3) What day did you finish?

We made it to the northern terminus on Oct 6th.

(4) Do you have a trail name?

Yes, Pretty Bird.

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

My trail name came from hiking the AT in 2014. My husband suggested the name to friends because I always get behind and hike slower to take pictures of birds and flowers. Our friends ran with it and as I rounded the corner I hear them saying, "Pretty Bird, Pretty Bird" from the Dumb and Dumber movie and that was it.

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

Even though the PCT is 2650 miles it is more of a mental challenge than a physical one. My tactic was to dream about the next upcoming town. I would look up what restaurants are in  the next town and dream about what food I will be eating. Perfect my order. When we were in Washington and it was cold and wet, I would dream about a nice warm bed. Anything to get my mind off of having to put on wet socks for the third day in a row. 

(7) Did you experience anything miraculous?

Maybe not miraculous but I loved bonding with people from all over the world. That is the best part about long distance hikes. It brings together so many determined, open-minded, and inspiring people. 

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

In Washington, we came across a marmot colony. We saw at least 10 siting around and enjoying the weather. We noticed movement and saw a marmot slapping its tail. We thought it was a happy marmot. Until we saw him run over to another marmot and they started fighting. They both reared up on there hind legs and started pushing each other. It looked like cute, furry, sumo wrestling. 

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

Physically, I have lost 20ish pounds and gained muscle. Mentally, I have realized how stubborn I am. I did not give up on my dream even through the desert heat, blistering sun, snow, rain, and exhaustion. Sure I didn't always reach my hiking goal for the day everyday. I think my stubbornness helped me succeed. There were a lot of neh-sayers at the end when it was getting colder. I used that negativity as fuel to keep me going and make it to Canada. 

Now today, I am positive I will succeed at any of my goals if I put in the time and commitment.

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

I miss our friends. My husband and I met so many amazing people from all over the world. 

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

I was most afraid of river crossings in the Sierra due to two women dying in 2017.

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

I still do not like river crossings. I am always relieved when I see a bridge. 

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

Life on trail is special. It is a narrow path and people have to work together, even to walk past each other. Someone has to step aside and wait for the other group to pass. We always greeted strangers hiking with a friendly hello and a smile. When we smile and say hello while walking down the sidewalk at home we get weird looks. I am determined to not fall back into this societal view of fearing your neighbor and others. Love is the answer.

(14) Would you like to add anything else?

I would like to say thank you. Thank you for sitting out in the cold at Rainy Pass for days on end so myself and our friends can be apart of this project. You are a great person. It was nice to meet you!