Hi there, friends! My name is Brianna. Or Bri. Or Brizzle. On the trail I go by Yard Sale. But you can call me whatever you’d like. I grew up in Oregon, living a pretty traditional life. And then backpacking happened. Everything changed when I discovered that I could walk. Here’s a short little version of my outdoor story, if you’re curious:
When I was a kid I actually hated hiking. My parents would drag me and my brother and sister on 2-4 mile hikes, and that was just about the extent of my outdoor experience, along with a week long car camping trip every summer. When I was about 16 I remember my mom calling me with some exciting news: her and my older sister had spontaneously decided to hike the South Sister! It was a giant mountain! Super hard hike! She almost died! And my reply? “…What is the South Sister? Sounds hard. Sounds like I wouldn’t like it.”
It didn’t take long for that to change. At some point, I started going on longer day hikes. I started going into the mountains. Then one day I met a couple taking a 3 day trip around Broken Top mountain in Central Oregon. 3 DAYS?! I thought they were crazy. It wasn’t until that moment that I had even considered backpacking. And then I was consumed by the idea. I went home and started googling “how to backpack”, and reading articles like “how to properly put on a backpack” and “the 10 essentials for backpacking” on REI.com. I bought really shitty gear, which I thought was really, REALLY great. A 6-pound tent, a 3-pound sleeping bag, but it was REI brand, so it had to be good.
In the summer of 2011 I drug my mom out with me on our first backpacking trip ever- a 7 mile hike into a lake in the Three Sisters Wilderness and back out. I did an immense amount of planning for this trip, and once we got out there, I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about backpacking despite the hundreds of hours of reading, researching and planning that I had spent the previous months pouring myself into. But it was awesome. It was so, SO awesome. For the first time ever I had no idea what I was doing, yet I somehow knew it was completely right.
Not long after I went on my first solo overnight trip, followed by more trips and longer miles. That summer and the summer of 2012 consisted of taking a trip, coming home and doing more research, upgrading the gear I hated, taking another trip to test out my new gear and knowledge, and repeating. Of course, I was in college at the time and was taking summer classes, but hiking consumed my mind and my time, and soon became a priority, unfortunately enough for my grades.
2013 rolled around and I decided to hike the John Muir Trail. I spent weeks and weeks planning for this trip- learning how to plan a resupply strategy, getting food prepped ahead and sending it to two locations, setting an itinerary and studying the maps. I could go on about the details of this trip and the next one, and all the ones after that, but truthfully, hiking the JMT is when everything else became history. I dropped out of school. I found a new level of athleticism that made me feel really, REALLY good. I poured into books about ultra-running, spent my days hiking and running, researching and planning and buying new gear. There was something very deep inside of me that had come alive. Before this 24-day hike through the Sierra high country, I hadn’t known it but I was a living, breathing, eating, walking zombie. I went to school because it was the “thing to do”, and because I was good at it. I wasn’t happy though. I wasn’t smiling just because it was a new day and I was ecstatic about life, as I do now. I wasn’t even really living. I was mostly just surviving.
In the summer of 2014 I stepped things up a notch and decided to hike the Colorado Trail. I walked for 500 miles in the beautiful land of Colorado with my best friend, road tripped, met some amazing souls who we spent a week with following the trail, explored some new territory in Utah and Nevada, and had the time of our lives. I then hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail with my mom, and followed that 175-mile trek with multiple overnight solo trips in an attempt to push myself physically and gain some new mileage under my feet. I walked my first 30+ mile day. I got aches and pains of all sorts, but still felt better than I EVER had. Actually, I felt better than I ever dreamed was possible.
Now, in 2015, I’m about to embark on my biggest journey yet. I have set my goals and I haven’t left the bar low. Starting on April 1st, 2015 I will be walking from the Mexico border to the Utah border following the 800(ish) mile Arizona Trail. From there I will make my way to Southern California via hitch-hiking or bussing or… another means of transportation… where I will thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada, approximately 2660 miles. Between the two, my feet will take me nearly 3500 miles in one summer.
On this site you can follow my steps and stories, and even leave me a happy word of excitement and hope to cheer me along if you feel so obliged. Thank you for taking the time to learn about me, and for being interested in where my life is taking me. At the end of the day, all I really want is to spread the joy and fulfillment that I have found through hiking, on to the next person, and maybe even to the rest of the world. Cheers to living a purposeful life full of love and bliss, and to embracing the passions you are discovering and still have yet to find.