23-year-old to tackle the PCT
Portola native Mia Krakowski, 23, will be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail by herself. She will begin her journey April 23 and plans to finish around the end of August. Photo courtesy Mia Krakowski
On April 23, 23-year-old Mia Krakowski will be taking a hike. For most Portola natives this is a common recreational activity, but most Portola natives do not hike the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail all by themselves.
Krakowski will be embarking on her first long-distance hike through the West. She will be taking about five months and will begin at the PCT trailhead near the Mexican border. She plans to be finished around August or September.
Krakowski was born and raised in Portola. She grew up hiking through the mountains in the area. When she graduated from Portola High School she attended Shasta College, then Butte College for a number of years. About two years ago she got a job at Packer Lake Lodge during the summer where she spent most of her time in the wilderness.
It was while she was at Packer Lake Lodge she began to gain curiosity about the Pacific Crest Trail. She said she encountered a lot of PCT hikers who were going through Sierra City. She noticed they were “such an interesting community of people,” and she became intrigued.
“I had to go back to school in the fall, but I wanted to do something bigger,” she said.
After spring semester 2012 she decided to take time off from school and began preparing for the hike of her life.
“The first thing I bought was a one-person 1.7-pound tent,” she said.
Then from there the gear grew. After two years of saving and getting ready, Krakowski said she is ready to set out on her adventure.
“It’s a combination of challenging myself and getting to know myself,” she said. “This is challenging me to strive for more.”
Krakowski has purchased a five-month permit from the Pacific Crest Trail Association. She also plans to mail herself rations throughout the trip. She said she has spent countless hours reading up on what to expect and even spent the winter getting in shape. She said she’s hoping to have her pack weigh around 35 pounds, and she said her water and food will take up most of that weight.
“I’m nervous about getting lost,” she said. “I’m not a huge compass or map person really, so hopefully I can hone those skills while I’m out there.”
She plans to stop by and see her family and friends once she has made it to the Lost Sierra. She said she feels confident about traveling through the mountains she knows so well.
“I love being out here. I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have growing up,” she said.
No matter who you are, hiking the entire PCT is a challenging feat, but Krakowski said she’ll be going at her own pace, and looks forward to meeting new people on the trail.
“It’s a big thing to do so it’s a little unnerving. I’d like to know myself more, and then be able to come back to the world and be able to make decisions like what college I am going to go to and what career I’m going to pursue,” she said. “It’s definitely the biggest thing I’ve done so far.”