Rayana “Acorn” Adra is one of a handful of women to complete a thru-hike of the Florida Trail, Florida’s own National Scenic Trail, this season. She spent the past year and a half hiking three of America’s National Scenic Trails. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
Before my thru-hikes, I was living a normal life in downtown Chicago. I had a successful job as a Microbiologist at a Children’s Hospital, and lived on the 47th floor of a high-rise.
I was happy, but not fulfilled. Was this success?
Something was missing.
In the Fall of 2012, I bought a lottery ticket. As I walked home, I asked myself a scary question: “What would you do if you won the lottery?”
The answer scared me: I would hike the Appalachian Trail.
Of course, I didn’t win the lottery. But this moment planted that seed in my mind. The more I thought about it, the more logic it made. I decided to go for it!
I quit my job, and on March 30th, 2013, I started hiking the Appalachian Trail as a solo female hiker. It was crazy, but I needed to find myself. It’s an understatement to say that it was the most incredible experience of my life.
I was persistent, and on Oct 6th, 2013, I summited Katahdin. But it wasn’t enough. As I stood on the mountain, I found myself craving more.
More sights, more mountains, more hiking!
On Jan 8th, 2014, I started the Florida Trail. Along the way, I met my boyfriend, Estero. We completed the Florida Trail, together, on March 8th.
We hiked the PCT as a couple from April 9th to Sept 23rd.
I’ve been incredibly lucky. Thru-hiking is difficult. It will hurt, the weather will be too hot, too cold, your body will hurt, but there’s honestly nowhere else I would rather be. I haven’t had any major challenges, because I always understood that pain, and bad weather was only temporary.
It will pass, and someday, there’s a reward waiting for me…on a beach in Florida, a mountain in Maine, or a clear patch of woods near the Canadian/US border.
Since March 2013, I have spent nearly 6,000 miles hiking. And, now, I’m not only happy, but also feeling so fulfilled.
I hope to see more women in the outdoors. I’ve blogged on AcornHikes.com during my adventures, and I hope my adventures positively influence women to get out and hike! I was in good shape, but I was never an athlete — If I can do it, anyone can do it.