Garage Grown Gear Interview

Here is the interview I had with Garage Grown Gear back in September. Hope y’all like it! I couldn’t be happier having this interview since they allowed me to chat with no filter.

G3: Would you recommend more people work out besides just walking?
H: “Oh yes! Lifting weights is how I trained for the Pacific Crest Trail and now for every hike. Strength training is equally important. A strong back, quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes go a long way. Squats were one of my favorite exercises because it helped me practice with a large amount of weight on my back. Since I’ve leaned into weight-lifting, I’ve never felt stronger while hiking. It’s incredible.”
G3: Most common question about thru-hiking?
H: “How do you handle using the restroom in the wilderness? IMO the pop a squat, is the best answer.”
G3: What would you tell younger Heather if you could go back in time?
H: “Always trust your instincts. Many people will question you, tell you are wrong, or don’t know, or you don’t understand. It will not make sense at that point until you look back. Additionally, you will run into people who want to help you sincerely. Allow them to help you. Listen to their advice, they mean well.”
G3: Do you have a mantra?
H: To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift. – Steve Prefontaine

G3: What can the outdoor community learn from 2020 moving forward?
H: “Step 1: Take the time to unlearn & relearn history from a non-biased perspective. Step 2: Recognize the impact a& create solutions on how to forward together to make the great outdoors more inclusive. Whatever we are doing is good, but it is not enough.
Suggestions: It can start as little as reading the history of the park’s brochure before visiting. You can diversify your IG feed to learn about the origins of racism in the great outdoors. My favorite page is @hikeclerb. It’s eye-opening to recognize the parks system was built on white supremacy and reflect how that impacted this day. 
Another option, for every hiking trip: Look around. Are the people recreating in the park an accurate representation of the population?”

G3: Do you feel you get treated differently as a female hiking on long trails?
H: “Yes. I didn’t recognize it as first glance because I was in survival mode & was the definition of oppression. At an early age, I developed to be numb to all discrimination, & so I hiked on. I didn’t join any groups, nor did I care to join groups other than in the Sierra for safety purposes. If anything, it impacted me after the trail because I felt more lost. At a certain point, I realized I envied others for having a care-free attitude while my emotions were always numb.” 
G3: How can the thru-hiking community be more welcoming?
H: “Treat everyone the same, & that includes couples. Don’t be too focused on your trail family; there are tons of people with unique & cool stories. If resting, have an engaging conversation as you would with anyone else. That includes those who are quiet or chatty too. I loved hiking as a couple who didn’t stick to one group. We met several people on the trail, & I learned so much about their lives & what brought them there.

G3: What’s next for you?
H: “In July 2021, we are section-hiking the Sierra of the PCT, which is approximately 308.5 miles, which includes the 6.5 miles from Onion Valley to Bullfrog Lake.”
G3:  final thoughts? H: “As we enter wildfire season, please be mindful of your upcoming trips if it is nearby these areas. Do more research, you will find out some communities are asking others to not visit. For example, Santa Cruz County is asking people not to travel through September. We need those hotel rooms for evacuees. There are 80,000 people who were forced to evacuate from the Santa Cruz mountains alone. Earlier, we needed the roads in the bay area to open for people to evacuate.”

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