My name is Daniele Clarissa. I am a pediatric surgery travel nurse, with a love for photography, an aspiring travel blogger, who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017.
I was raised by a single mother in Noblesville, Indiana. Growing up, our vacations consisted of traveling to tropical locations and staying in nice hotels. My outdoor adventure hobbies consisted of snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and laying on the beach. Before I joined the Army National Guard in 2003, I had never really gotten my hands dirty per say.
After deploying to Iraq in 2008, and getting out of the military in 2014, I never thought I would be carrying a pack, navigating through backcountry with a GPS, or sleeping in a sleeping bag again. Honestly, at the time, I wanted to go back to nice hotels and a pillowtop mattress, never to go back to the ‘outdoor life’ again.
A few years ago, I became a travel nurse, planning road trips to all my travel nurse destinations. From Indiana to Miami, Miami to Houston, Houston to Alaska, Alaska to Portland and Portland to Seattle. On my road trip from Houston to Alaska, I bought a book called Secrets to the National Parks by National Geographic, which encouraged me to go beyond the tourist attractions… to hike further. This was when I went on my first hike, merely 18 months ago, and I fell in love with the outdoors, for the first time.
The love that I felt, came from being away from the tourists, surrounded by beauty, with no ‘real world’ stimulation. The trail is where I discovered who I really am, with whom I never even knew before. I feel like this is who I am supposed to be… deep down, and the trail is the only place that this girl exists. That feeling… I long for, all of the time. This feeling is what brought me to my dream of hiking the PCT.
Why I’m participating with mYAMAdventure
I came across mYAMAAdventure’s PCT program and I knew that I wanted to apart of it. The thought of talking to people who had hiked the PCT before, let alone being mentored by them, was what stole my attention. I could get some answers to the millions of PCT questions that consume my thoughts and I could get advice on reducing my pack weight. I also loved the idea of getting to know people who I would potentially see on the trail. I realize that I will meet a lot of new friends, but it is reassuring that I would feel like I already had some new friends before making that first step. Although I already have the gear needed to hike the trail, sponsored gear is always a bonus. Hopefully in the future, I can help mentor new PCT thru-hikers!
What hiking the PCT means to me:
As odd as this sounds, my heart just shouted, “that’s it… life brought us to this trail!” I started planning my PCT hike, a little over a year ago; now being so close, and eager, to the start my journey, but the time passing by so slowly. So here I am, a 2017 PCT thru hiker, wanting to be the woman I really am… who I only find on the trail.
Why support the PCTA?
Many set forth to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail each year, but this would not be possible, without the hard work and dedication of the Pacific Crest Trail Association. I want to support the organization that has and will continue to maintain one of the longest, most beautiful trails in the United States, turning the PCT thru-hiking dream of the 2017 thru-hikers and generations to come, into a reality.
“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul” - unknown.