Adversity on the Pacific Crest Trail
Update on Adventure Scholar Kelly Kate Warren
Kelly Kate, one of our newest Flyin Ryan Adventure Scholars, wrote us this summer to update us on her adventure, which involved hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Here’s her story:
I’ve been putting off writing this update, because it was one I desperately hoped I would never have to write. My PCT attempt has been cut short by a broken leg, which is a huge bummer. But life is full of hurdles, and I’m feeling good. I’m recovering at my mom’s house, and I’m already planning a 2019 reattempt of the full PCT. I am so grateful for the support of the Flyin Ryan Hawks Foundation.
My first two months on trail this year were amazing. The absolute highlight was the 100 miles I hiked in the snow in the Sierra, and it will be remembered always as one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I’m beginning to understand you snow-lovers. I’ve always been a dirt-walker and I was missing out, big time!
After participating in a brief training in Lone Pine, CA, our group continued onwards, through what is known as the most difficult part of the PCT. Forester Pass, the highest point on the PCT at over 11,000 feet, a side trip to Mt. Whitney, and lots of dangerous creek crossings. It was incredible. We hiked off trail with a map and compass almost the entire way, and camped in some beautiful remote areas. We spent a day fishing below Mt. Whitney, then climbed it during a beautiful sunrise, and got to stand on what felt like the top of the world. We made it safely across three passes, and through countless raging stream crossings. It was scary and fun, and the biggest adventure I’ve ever had.
I recovered for two days, and then got the call to go visit trail crews in King’s Canyon. I hitched my way to the trail house directly across the Sierra in Grant Grove, and got to spend a week with the King’s trail crew, including many of my closest friends. It was wonderful, except that I broke my leg. I woke up early one morning to volunteer with breakfast, got dizzy while slicing strawberries, sat down on a bench, passed out, fell a foot and a half, and broke my fibula.
It sucks. A lot. But it could have been much worse, and it’s kinda funny that I made it almost 800 miles and through some crazy terrain, only to be broken by strawberries! I have since had surgery to screw in a plate to level the break. I’ve been overwhelmed by the love and support of my family and friends. Meanwhile, I’ve been busy at home working on a book about the PCT and trail work.
I will keep you posted as I heal. It’s been humbling and enlightening to experience an injury like this, and I feel really happy about the 700 miles I hiked. It was an incredible experience, and I look forward to trying the whole thing again in 2019. I want to hike 2,660 miles without stopping to heal a broken leg, and I will!
I will forever think of Ryan and thank him for giving me the tools and confidence to explore the snowy wild.
– Kelly Kate
When she’s not hiking, she writes, and cooks and serves amazing food for trail crews in national parks and wilderness areas across the Western US.
Learn more about Kelly Kate Warren on her Adventure Scholars Profile page.
Read more about the Flyin Ryan Adventure Scholarship Program and other Adventure Scholarship recipients.