(1) Where are you from?
(2) What day did you start?
(3) What day did you finish?
(4) Do you have a trail name?
Sassy K. Inchworm, Sr.
(5) If so, where did it come from?
Well, this name sums up all the names I’ve been given based on who I am, not just what my parents thought sounded nice. I am a long-standing Burner, meaning I go to Burning Man (was off trail for 3 weeks to enjoy my 10th!) In the same vein as having a trail name, many people there have a playa name to describe the personality that is created and developed in such a free place. Mine is Sassy. Over the years, close friends have come to calling me “K” as an endearing abbreviation of my given name. My first backpacking trip, though only 5 days long, was on the Appalachian Trail and I was slow but determined I would eventually get “there” wherever there was. I earned the name Inchworm. Over the decades and many, many miles, I know it’s a good day when my mascot the inchworm shows up. And so… realizing just how catchy my name Sassy K. Inchworm was, I saw the likelihood of a repeat and decided to tack on the Sr. to be sure everyone was clear on who is who. [BIG wink here.]
(6) What did you dream of when things weren’t going well?
I was really lucky that I had very little experience over the whole 6 months of things not going well. I only had remote quit thoughts for a period of hours on less than a dozen occasions. Every time, it was because of a miserable weather event that made me question the sanity of this long excursion into whatever nature threw at me. So invariably I dreamed of beautiful days on sweeping vistas with t-shirt weather and a filling lunch with friends. If I was near town, I would dream of a heated, dry, windproof pub with friends.
(7) Did you experience anything miraculous?
Oh yes. Mostly though I learned to take the miracles back to my off-trail life. You see, while hiking I had so much time to think and little time to actually DO anything but walk. So I would create my life in my mind that I wanted to unfold before I got to the next town, and it would invariably show up. Now I have gained so much faith in the process that I really manifest big. (example: I got off trail to head to Burning Man, needing to get to Cascade Locks for Trail Days to catch up with all my friends for a final hurrah. Then I needed to somehow get to central Washington to get my things for the event. I had no car, and decided I’d like to buy a van that I would later outfit as a camper. Then I had to get on playa within 3 days. I did indeed make all this happen: I got a direct ride home 3+ hours away, found a van for sale on the way home that was just what I had envisioned, bought it for a great price, registered it, insured it, loaded it up, and drove to northern Nevada all without one hitch. The manifestations just keep on coming!)
(8) Any memorable encounters with the elements, or wildlife?
I saw a fisher. I felt honored to have shared a moment with each creature and all the distinct landscapes. To me, so much of the “mundane” was memorable that I still feel exploding with emotion when I think of nearly anywhere along the trail.
(9) Think back to your “pre-hike self.” Now think of yourself here at the end. Has anything changed?
I am so. much. calmer. I regularly note how I was a normal Western woman, stressed and anxious about the fast pace of life and never feeling I could be good enough in it. By the end, very little pushes my buttons and I find I smile in humor about the trials of life because none of it really matters anyway.
(10) Now that you are off the trail, what do you miss most about it?
I had so much alone time that even though I’m a really social person, I miss just being in my own mind while I experience life.
(11) Before you started, what were you most afraid of?
The big river crossings. And, let’s face it, the little river crossings. Basically, I was afraid of all the water.
(12) Now that you are finished, what are you most afraid of?
I just sat here for several minutes trying to think of what I’m afraid of at all. Fear is off playing in the backyard.