One of our Hike the World ambassadors, Rachel Cavanagh, finished four weeks in California, Nevada, and Arizona. She hit a lot of hiking trails out west and we are so proud of what she accomplished. Our HtW ambassadors embody what it means to be a supportive hiker. They encourage others along the trail, lead community hikes, and volunteer for programs that better the world around them. Rachel is no exception.
She was eager to share more of her adventures with all of you. She was also refreshingly honest about the challenges she faced- even the missteps. Hopefully, her hikes will inspire you to take a trip out west and visit some of America's breathtaking vistas.
Starting in Sedona, Arizona, I completed three hikes in two days: Bells Rock, Cathedral Rock and Soldiers Pass. The landscape was inspiring and I was bursting with enthusiasm! It wasn’t difficult to push through the hard parts because the surrounding mountains just draw you in but what got me was the heat. Being prepared with enough water was essential here.
Bring enough water!
Next, I took on Yosemite! Three hikes in three days (all approx. 6hrs each). I did Nevada Falls and then Upper Yosemite Falls TWICE!
If you really love something, why not do it more then once? I'm not going to lie, this one was a challenge. Hiking is half physical and half mental. But it was the mental challenge that got to me. I was about 30 mins from the top when my mind really started taking over. All that meant was that I needed to STOP, take a BREAK, regroup and refocus. My favorite part about this hike was the enthusiasm of all the people on their way back down. Every person you passed offered a comment of encouragement, which really helped you push through that last little bit.
Finding out that you could swim in this incredible swimming hole at the top brought me back the next day!
Bring something to swim in (even just hiking bra + shorts - they will dry!)
Following three full days in Yosemite I headed north to South Lake Tahoe. Mt Tallac was my next challenge. I’ll be honest; I was not prepared mentally or physically. My body had not recovered from the previous days in Yosemite.
I may have pushed myself a little here but you know what? I learned a lot from it. I learned that I am physically more capable then I thought and that when I reached my point of giving up, music motivated me to continue on! This was such an amazing personal discovery! After hiking 3.5hr up on unpaved, rocky paths, I had reached my limit.
I sat down and said, ‘If that's the top over there, then there is no way I’m going up it!” We got our maps out and, unfortunately, that was the top and I was going to have to go up it. This is when I pulled out my headphones, plugged in my favorite tunes and literally danced the rest of the way to the top. It was exhilarating! The top of Mt. Tallac had 360-degree views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. This was one of the best views I had come across so far and with more preparation, I would do this hike again.
Bring headphones and your favorite music!
Mammoth Lakes took my breath away because of its beauty and its peace. It was much quieter than South Lake with fewer people. However, being at the end of 5 months traveling America and now at about 3000m altitude, I was exhausted. A few rest days here helped before I packed my bag and got the shuttle to Horseshoe Lake where my mission was to find the Rim Trail and do a nice big loop around the mountains.
I began the hike and ended up deep and alone in the forest unsure of where this track was and feeling a little defeated. This was the first track I didn’t complete and as much as I wanted to push on and find it, I didn’t feel safe and thought it’d be better to turn back. The silver lining was I found a short walk called Crystal Lakes which proved to be so beautiful. Thinking that my blisters had healed from the previous hikes, I walked between trails which added about 45 minutes to this trek. Bad idea. My feet were sore! But I persevered and made it to the top to sit on the rim of the lake. No one else was around. Complete peace and quiet. Worth it? Yes! But now my blisters have blisters. Whoops!
Bring a camera and a book!
Eager for more of Rachel's adventures? She will be providing us with updates as she travels the next few months. You can also follow her on IG @rochelle_caviar. Interested in becoming an ambassador for Hike the World? Ambassadors get special discounts on HtW gear! Click here to find out more.