Heather Anderson Talks Mental Health and the Trail
I completed my first thru-hike in 2003… and haven’t stopped since. Depending on what criteria you use to define thru-hiking, I’ve completed at least 15—including being the only woman to complete the Triple Crown three times.
I think we can all agree that the time we spend hiking and the feeling of joy when we achieve something as huge as completing a thru-hike is a part of why we do it. But there’s a flip-side to this that is seldom discussed.
That’s the period of blues or depression that frequently follows the completion of a long journey. Earlier this month on the Gossamer Gear blog, several ambassadors shared their experiences with the post-hike depression that often follows a thru-hike.
As a repeat thru-hiker, one of the questions I get—asked one-on-one, quietly, and shyly—is if I still have post-hike depression. The answer is yes… and no. A depressive period following a huge endeavor is absolutely guaranteed, at least on a biological level. After months of your circadian rhythm being in sync with the sun, hours a day spent exercising, and unlimited fresh air and clean water, your body, hormones, and nervous systems are going to be upset by a transition to sitting on a couch indoors with artificial lights. I still experience this.
Find the full article written by Heather “Anish” Anderson here.
June 4, 2022
Outdoor Life: Do You Really Need a Water Filter for Backpacking and Mountain Hunting?
Depending on where you travel, you may want to pack bug spray, too. In places like Florida and North Carolina, summers get buggy, and you’ll be happy to have packed a spray on nights when you want to sit on the porch or dine outdoors.
As a veteran of the Iraq War, I found myself struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder from which greatly impacted my mental health. In 2016, I came across the film “Wild,” an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about healing by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
Sawyer Permethrin Premium Insect Repellent is used on clothing, not skin, and it provides long-lasting protection against ticks.