Philip & Julia
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Philip Pfanner: The West Coast is and has been my home. And to gain a better sense of belonging and understanding of the West Coast and my home I have dreamed and planned to hike the PCT for since childhood. Finally, my dream is coming to fruition, next spring along with my partner Julia Frantz, we will embark on the trip of our lifetimes, hiking from Mexico to Canada.
Julia Frantz: I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, and have been active in the outdoors all of my life. From a young age, my parents took my sister and I on camping and backpacking trips throughout the Pacific Northwest, and I have vivid memories of bear visits, swims in frigid mountain lakes, and everything in between. I still remember my first-ever backpacking trip when I was 6 years old, on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. My parents took me and my sister on this crazy trail, complete with rope ladders, mud pits, and sprinting around headlands before the waves ate us up. Over time, I began to love the adventure and freedom that the trail brings. I’ve spent many a summer day hiking portions of the Oregon section of the PCT, and always told myself that one day, I would do the whole thing.
Up until this point in my life, I had always felt that the time was not right for a PCT thru-hike. The two loves of my life – the outdoors and music – always seemed to be at battle with each other. I have played violin since age 5 and studied violin performance in both college and graduate school, and there was never a time that I could take five months off and let my violin gather dust at home. Post-graduate school and mid-quarter-life crisis, I moved back to Oregon, where I now work in fundraising for a symphony. Three years later, I feel ready to tackle this challenge. I’ve realized that there is no time like the present – if I don’t seize the opportunity, there may not be another time that lends itself to a 2,600 mile adventure as perfectly as now.
What hiking the PCT means to us:
Philip: The magnetism of the Pacific Crest Trail and hiking from Mexico to Canada has long been a pulled on me. And now we, my partner and I have the opportunity to live our dream. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will provide the opportunity of 5 months of hiking in the mountains and deserts that make up our home.
Julia: I still remember the exhilaration I felt when I accomplished that Olympic Peninsula hike, and the thirst for more experiences like it. That thirst has led me to complete six marathons, an ultramarathon, triathlons, and even a swim across the San Francisco Bay. It is this thirst that draws me to the PCT. I want to stretch my physical limits and find out what I am capable of. Being a person who regularly seeks out challenges in all facets of my life, I am drawn to the physical, mental, and emotional challenge that a thru-hike entails. I love the freedom, beauty, and community – either with others or with myself – that hiking provides. I relish the feeling of traveling by foot, and of knowing that I got myself from Point A to Point B. I want to experience the highs and lows of long-distance hiking: the monotony of the ten-hour days, the rain, snow, heat, and fatigue, but also the incredible beauty of my surroundings and the freedom of doing nothing but hiking each day. I want to see and experience the West Coast in a way that few ever have.
Why the PCTA is important:
Philip: The Pacific Crest Trail association helps to ensure the long term preservation of the Pacific Crest Trail. Our hike and fundraising for the PCTA helps to enable future generations of hikers to have the same opportunity we have had. Your donation contributes to the longevity of the Pacific Crest Trail. Please donate.
Julia: The PCTA works to preserve and protect the trail so that it remains pristine, accessible, and wild for this and future generations. By supporting the organization that keeps the trail alive, you help ensure that others can pursue their own adventures for years to come. Help contribute to what makes the West Coast the wild and beautiful place we love.
Why we’re participating with mYAMAdventure:
Philip: I’m participating in the mYAMAdventure for a myriad of reasons. For one, access to the mentors of the mYAMAdventure program will be key in helping for us to adequately prepare. Two, the mYAMAdventure program’s donation of gear will help us prepare. And a third aspect of the program that draws us is the component of raising money and hopefully awareness about the Pacific Crest Trail Association. Raising money and awareness about the PCTA makes our hike about something greater than just us, it makes us part of the long-term preservation of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Julia: I am SO excited to be a part of mYAMAdventure! I’m most excited about the larger purpose and context that the fundraising goal provides. Not only are we helping to support the trail itself, but having the goal of supporting the PCTA strengthens my commitment to the hike and widens the circle of people who are invested in my adventure. I also love the idea of sharing the hiking experience with others via a blog and social media. Connecting with others and knowing they are sharing in our experience will help to ease some of the monotony and aloneness that a thru-hike inevitably entails.