Photo by Lani Advokat
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My Trail Story featuring Larry

Lani Advokat, a.k.a. Larry, has thru-hiked the John Muir Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and the Colorado Trail in the last four years. Check out what she has to say about her experiences thru-hiking.

Natalie McMillan      My Trail Story       02/13/2019
Natalie McMillan
My Trail Story

What is your trail name?


What trail(s) did you hike?

John Muir Trail 2015, Tahoe Rim Trail 2016, Pacific Crest Trail 2017, Colorado Trail 2018


How old are you?

35 years


Would you do another thru-hike? If yes, which trail is next?

Yes! Next up: Continental Divide Trail or the Arizona Trail.

A woman hiker stands on the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Photo by Lani Advokat

What advice would you give to someone who has never done a thru-hike before?

Trust yourself and don’t let fear stop you from taking that first step. I would recommend testing out your gear in advance, going on a few practice hikes, and getting yourself on a regular exercise routine (if you don’t already have one). That being said, I met plenty of people who had never backpacked, or camped, before starting the PCT. Once you begin your long thru-hike you will get in shape as you go along and you can always change up any gear or systems that aren’t working. So, I repeat my first sentence of advice…don’t let excuses hold you back!


What was the easiest/hardest part about your thru-hike?

The easiest part of the hike was walking.

The hardest part of the hike was coming home (and the winter storms that befell us in October). Transitioning from trail life back to city life in Los Angeles was much more challenging than I thought it would be. I found that continuing to be in the mountains daily (trail running), along with my yoga practice and staying in touch with friends from trail to be the most helpful.

A man and woman sit in the trunk of a car cheers-ing their beers.
My partner, “Cosmo,” and I met on day 3 of the Pacific Crest Trail and have been side by side ever since 🙂
Photo by Lani Advokat

What do you wish you had done differently?

Next time I would like to try for bigger daily miles, less time spent in towns and I would like to pack out more whole foods.


What do you miss the most?

The community, my trail family, and the mental freedom that comes with waking up everyday knowing what I will wear, what I will eat, and the direction that I need to go.


What was your favorite feature in our app?

The elevation map and up to date hiker comments (this was especially important with water sources).


What was the one thing you had to have with you while you hiked?



Why did you decide to go on a thru-hike in the first place?

I felt ready.

Did you hike solo or with other people?

I started solo and then met folks on the third day that I hiked most of the trail with, including my current partner 🙂


What part of the trail was your most/least favorite?

I felt strongest and happiest in the desert, but the Sierra will always be my favorite place. To read about every day I spent on trail check out my blog at


How many pairs of shoes did you go through?


A group of friends hugging.
Photo by Lani Advokat

What was the scariest part of your hike?

The water crossings in the Sierra. The high snow levels in 2017 made very dangerous, and deadly, water crossings in the Sierra.


Did you ever reach a point where you wanted to quit? How did you stay motivated to finish?

It was hard to stay motivated once the forest fires hit. The heavy smoke started to impact the hike in Northern California and once we got close to Mt. Shasta, most of the trail in Oregon had been closed due to fire. We knew that if we wanted to continue our hike we would have to flip up to Washington. It was disheartening to have to change our plans, and to know so much of the trail was being devastated all around us.

The closures in Oregon caused the trail to drastically thin out. Most folks did not want to bother with the logistical nightmare that was ahead of us trying to navigate the closures.  My trail family kept me motivated. I had a small crew that stayed together to complete the trail. The positive energy and support of the hikers I traveled with was such an important motivator in the second half of the trek!

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Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail is an epic journey of three states and over 2600 miles. Its path travels from the US border with Mexico to the northern border with Canada.

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2650 mi (4260 km)       $29.99 full guide
Washington, Pacific Crest Trail
Photo by Justin Helmkamp
Washington, Pacific Crest Trail
Photo by Justin Helmkamp

Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail is an epic journey of three states and over 2600 miles. Its path travels from the US border with Mexico to the northern border with Canada.

2650 mi (4260 km)
$29.99 full guide
Learn more
Get our trail guide for this area!
About the Author
A woman wearing a denim jacket and a brown hat stands in a field of wildflowers.

Natalie McMillan

Natalie grew up hiking in Arizona where she fell in love with the outdoors. Her favorite hikes are to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon and Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park, UT. She loves taking pictures of people, places, and nature, which might explain why she has almost 47,000 photos currently residing on her phone. She takes care of all things related to social media and marketing and recently moved to Denver, CO from Flagstaff, AZ. You may find her frolicking around the trails and mountains of Colorado, or exploring the new city she gets to call home.