PCT – 4 months later


To all of you who reads this blog: Happy new year! A whole month has already passed of this new year and I hope that you haven’t forgot about your new year resolution already and fallen back into your old habits. I really love occasions as new year when you can take time to have a look at your life and think about wether you live it the way you want to or not. If there’s anything you would like to change or do differently. Letting the new year be the push that you might need to take the decision to try something new.

New Year is also a time when you can look back over the year that’s passed and be grateful. Grateful for all the good moments you’ve had but also for the strength you’ve found inside yourself to get through the ones that was bad. I hope that regardless how your 2016 was, that what you experienced learned you something about yourself and how you want to live. Something that can make your future better.

What’s been the highlight for me in 2016 might not be that hard to guess. My hike along the Pacific Crest Trail has been an amazing experience and challenge, both physical and mental. Last Sunday it was exactly four months since I landed back in Sweden after my big adventure, four months that has passed incredibly fast. I can still remember many of my days on the trail as it was yesterday. Moments can pop up in my head where I can remember exactly how it was, what I saw and what I heard. What I was thinking. I remember how me and the two people I was hiking with the last days started to retell our story on the trail from day one. It turned out that we could recall every single day from the beginning. Almost six months back in time! Today I can hardly remember what I did last week, but out there you’re so present and all impressions are so strong that they’ll stay in your mind for long.

Knife’s Edge in Goat Rocks Wilderness in Washington, one of my favorite places on the trail.

But it’s not just the memories that I take with me from the trail. The time I had by myself up in the mountains and forests gave me time to think, wonder, analyze and to reflect. Over and over again. I thought a lot of my life. Where I’ve been, where I was and where I wanted. What was important to me, what made me happy and how I could act to get more of that, but also what made me feel bad and how to avoid putting myself in that kind of situations. Those reflections started a process in me, a process that I now understand is still going on.

About a week ago, I got asked how I see my life in five to ten years. I’ve always had a very clear picture of my life where career, home and family has been in focus and also been part of some kind of plan. Now when I got this question, I suddenly felt that this was no longer relevant for me. I no longer want to have a plan for the future that I will stubbornly hold on to. I would rather focus on living in the moment, right here and right now. Let life take me where it wants to takes me. I want to be open for new experiences and dreams without having to worry about wether they gonna risk ”my plan” or not. A danger with plans is also that we tend to hold on the them without questioning if the dream we’re hunting really still is a dream or not. Life takes so exciting turns and you will always discover new things. Why stay on the highway instead of examining where all the back roads can take you? Why let everything be decided? I want to dance along with my life and let it take the lead, take me where it wants to. I want to fill it with things to remember and tell stories about. I want to discover things I had no idea that I would learn to love. In about five to ten years I hope that I did not take the safe road and instead danced along with my life to a place that I can not yet imagine. And that the dance is still going on. That I’ll continue to explore the back roads.

If I had stucked to my plan to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail by myself, I had never gotten to know these amazing people that I now call family.

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Finding the courage to take those back roads, to try new stuff and to believe in myself is also something the trail has helped me with. In the wilderness I constantly faced new obstacles that usually meant that I had to challenge my fears and do things I rather wouldn’t. There was simply no other option. It could be to cross a wild stream on a narrow and slippery log 10 feet up in the air, even though I’m extremely afraid of heights and have a bad balance. It could also be to cross a section of snow on the side of a mountain, where stumbling could result in a long and steep fall down the side of it. Even if the voice inside my head many times said no, I had no other choice than to ignore it, say yes and keep on walking. And every time I felt both stronger and prouder of myself afterwards.

To challenge our fears is one of the best thing we can do, I think. It makes us grow as people and it also gives us better self-confidence and self-esteem. It makes us believe in ourselves and that we can handle the situation whatever might happen, which in turn leads to that we feel calmer and safer in life.

The trail has also thought me to stay calm even if something doesn’t works out as supposed to. I got asked in a radio interview this christmas, what I did if something unpredictable happened on the trail. For example if my sleeping pad would break in the middle of nowhere. I first felt that the question was a bit odd, it’s just to get a new one next time you’re in town, I thought. But after thinking about it, I could understand the question. We are so scared about not feeling completely safe, to not be one hundred percent covered with not only one backup plan but several. We have insurances for most things in life, we sign contracts for almost everything. We don’t sell our apartment till we have secured our next place to live and we don’t even end our relationships till we found a new partner before we dare to change anything. But in the wilderness there are no guarantees, nothing to hold on to. The only thing to do is to trust yourself and that you can deal with whatever happens. The trail will take you where it wants to so it’s just to follow and make the best of the situation. If your sleeping pad would break it’s nothing to worry about. It’s not about life and death. You’ll have to sleep on the ground for a couple of days. There’s no danger, you’ll survive.

A little more than a month after my hike was over, I stood up on the second largest stage at the Swedish Photo Fair and spoke infront of over a hundred people about my hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. When I was offered to do this I immediately said yes, even though the voices inside my head loud and clearly yelled ”no, no no!!!”. But I said yes and I did it. It went well and I even enjoyed it! Since then, a lot of situations like that has turned up where I’ve said yes without really thinking it through. And I like it! It’s things that I think I deep inside want to do, but that I without this hike might never had the courage to say yes to. The hike has given me strength to dare, even when it feels scary and also to believe in myself.


In 2017, I’ve promised myself that I will keep doing all this stuff that has already given me so much. I want to spend more time in the wilderness and I want to set out on new adventures. I wanna keep working to inspire people to believe in their dreams and to help them find the courage to make them become real. My next trip will be to the Sälen Mountains in the middle of Sweden in about a week and in the beginning of April I will participate in Fjällräven Polar, a 300 kilometer dog sled adventure through the very north of Sweden! Later this year I have another bigger adventure coming up that I will soon present. It’s gonna be a real challenge and adventure and all I can say right now is that it’s gonna take this thing to a whole other level… As I said, keep your eyes open, more info coming soon!

I will also have an exhibition with my photographs from the Pacific Crest Trail and travel with parts of it around Sweden and also talk about my hike along the trail. More info about this is also coming soon.

So when it comes to my new year resolution, or should I say resolutions, I promise myself to say yes to things I don’t really dare, expose myself to scary situations, dare to take chances, let go and dance a long – let my life take me where it wants to.

Are you with me?

To the future!

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... is Linda Åkerberg. I'm a 32 years old photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden. Read more about me here

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It’s easy to forget, that when climbing a mountain, reaching the top means that you’re only halfway through your climb. The way down can be at least as heard (or sometimes even harder) than they way up. This is important to keep in mind when climbing. This and much more will be part of my talk about Kilimanjaro at @naturkompaniet (Hantverkargatan) in Stockholm tonight at 18.30! Drop by if your interested in learning more! ☀️
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Pic from my descent of Kilimanjaro in March with Mt. Meru in the background. Maybe I’ll climb that too next time... 😁
#mykilimanjarostory .
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#mountkilimanjaro #kilimanjaro #mykilimanjaroadventure #climbingmountains #mtmeru #futuregoals #dreambig #neverstopexploring
Uhuru Peak - The top of Kilimanjaro - is located 5895 meters above sea level and is the highest point of Africa, which also makes Kilimanjaro one of the #sevensummits .
Uhuru means ‘freedom’ in Swahili and the peak got its name when Tanzania was declared a independent country in 1964. 🇹🇿 #mykilimanjarostory
The last stretch to the top of Kilimanjaro. To the right you can see the people surrounding the monument that marks the summit and to the left you can see the southern icefields. Once, the glacier reached all the way to the trail but now it’s far away. Scientists predict the glaciers on Kilimanjaro will be all gone by 2060. It’s sad that even on such a remote place as the top of Africa, you want to get away from the effects of global warming...💔
#mykilimanjarostory
Right. Left. Right. Left. Right...
The last stretch up to the top of Kilimanjaro after Stella Point sure was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and all I could think of was my next step.  I’ve never been so captured in the moment and at the same time so stubborn to not giving up. 
Luckily I was once or twice able manage to remember to pic up my phone and take some pictures. This is one of the few I have from the last stretch to the top.
#mykilimanjarostory #nevernevernevergiveup #iphonephotography
Mawenzi Peak, the third of the three volcanoes that is part of the Kilimanjaro massive. With its 5149 meters above sea level, it’s not only the second highest point on Kilimanjaro, it’s also the third highest point in Africa! (After Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru Peak and Mt Kenya.) Pic from the crater rim just an hour or so after sunrise.
#mykilimanjarostory
Did you know that you can get a certificate that you climbed Kilimanjaro even if you don’t get to the top? If you’re reaching Gilman’s Point at 5685m (only passed if you’re doing the Rongai or Marangu Route) or Stella Point at 5756m, you also get one. The golden summit certificate you only get if you make it all the way to Uhuru Peak at 5895m though. .
For me the hardest stretch on the summit day was up to Stella Point. After that the trail gets much less steep and the fact that you can actually see the Uhuru Peak makes the rest of the climb - I wouldn’t say easy, but at least - much easier. Getting to this point also felt really good, it was here that I for the first time knew that I was gonna make it!
#mykilimanjarostory
Sunrise seen from Kilimanjaro during my summit push.
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When you’re climbing a mountain, it’s normal to start your summit attempt very early in the morning. On Kilimanjaro, I started at midnight!
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So why start so early in the middle of the night?
🗻The climb from base camp and back took about 11 hours and you wanna do this while the snow and ground is still frozen and hard. That makes it easy to walk on and you won’t have to worry about sliding around. 🗻The sun and heat is also a reason. The air is thin on the top and once the sun has rised it can be very hot - but you still need to cover yourself to not get burned. 🗻A third reason is that you get to watch the magic sunrise from the top of Africa. Maybe the best reason of them all. 😍
#mykilimanjarostory
One of the most well known plants on Kilimanjaro is the groundsel Dendrosenecio. Walking down in the fog from Lava Tower, these gigantic plants appeared for the first time on the Machame Route and they felt both spooky and so pretty at the same time.💕
#mykilimanjarostory
Patience - one of the most valuable traits of a hiker or climber.
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Yesterday I gave some advice to a guy that hikes the PCT this year. After just 40 miles in he started complaining about his shoes. That he got blisters and wanted new ones. My best advice to him was to take some days off and then continue forward and not do too many miles a day. To let his body slowly adapt to the new conditions. Not buying new shoes. .
The same is it with altitude. There is no easy solution. To be able to handle it, you have to let you’re body slowly adapt to the new altitude and the less amount of oxygen it gets.
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Climbing Kilimanjaro can be hard because many of the routes are done in few days. One benefit with choosing the Machame Route is that you get one acclimatization day on your way up. After Shira Cave Camp (3750m) you go up to Lava Tower at 4600m before you’re heading down to your next camp, Barranco camp at 3900m. This gives you’re body time to adjust to the altitude and increases the odds making it to the top!
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This pic is from my way up to Lava Tower. I was lucky to have snow there which is not always the case! Can you see the small people in the lower left corner?!
#mykilimanjarostory

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