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.

 – 

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!

You may also like

LEAVE A COMMENT

Me who runs the blog

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

Instagram

Someone once asked me if I didn't loose track of the days hiking the PCT. My answer was 'No, it was actually the opposite, I could easily recall the days, even months back. We just didn't call them by the name we use in "normal life". In the wild we simply referred to them after what made them special.' This is for example a pic from "Fog Day" (or as all the others would call it, May 6) last year. 
PCT, mile ~426
How do you prepare for a hike on a trail you never been on before? Read about my second step in my preparation for Everest Base Camp trek: Setting a time schedule, at wilderness-stories.com (link in bio)
Pic from PCT mile ~1973, in one of the weirdest landscapes I've ever seen: the lava fields in Oregon.
Passing the 2600-mile marker on the PCT was a big thing for me. Being the last 100-marker with only 50 mile to go it was clear that I was gonna complete the entire trail. Now I've seen that I've also passed 2600 followers here on Instagram! I'm so happy for all of you and that you want to follow me on my adventures! Hearing from you, meeting you and hear your own stories is what keeps me going - so from the bottom I'm my heart, THANK YOU! ❤️
One year ago today, on June 5th 2016, I summited my very first mountain, Mount Whitney on a side trail of the PCT. With its 14505 ft / 4421 meter it counts as the highest mountain in the "lower 48" (the U.S. except the 2 states of Alaska and Hawaii). It was a bit tricky in the snow, but we all made it! I know there's a lot more snow in the Sierras this year so I wish all the thruhikers of 2017 all the best and also want to send them a reminder to stay safe. If Whitney feels to risky when you pass it, you can always do it later. The mountains won't go anywhere. ❤️
If you have a dream or something you really want to do, it can be a little bit scary to make it happen. We make up ideas about why now isn't the right time, why it's better to do it later. But the truth is that there's no better time than right now. Don't push forward your dreams. Make them happen. ☀️
Me after my first full day of kayaking last week. It was a bit scary and on this pic I'm super tired but so happy at the same time because I finally did it! And it was so much fun!
If there's something you feel like trying, just do it. Don't make up excuses for why now isn't the best time. Yesterday I rented a kayak and crossed through the islands in the Stockholm archipelago for the very first time. I moved here 13 years ago and I can't believe it's took me so long to do this! 
Good side with the story though: It's never to late.
2:30 in the morning and the sun is slowly rising over the Baltic Sea. I just love those bright summer nights. ❤️
Spent the whole day yesterday in the beautiful Nacka nature reserve just outside Stockholm. It's amazing how fast you can get out in nature, even in such a big city as the capital of Sweden! From the stockholm central station it's less then a 30 minutes drive and with the metro it will go even faster!
Tried a new form of workout yesterday: I put my backpack on and cycled to the store for some grocery shopping. 15K and 15kg on my back surely made me feel both good and exhausted afterwards!

Subscribe to new posts on Wilderness Stories!



Supporters