Role Model Kristine: Virtual Walker of the Pacific Crest Trail

Role Model Kristine walking the mountains

We all need a role model. Not every day, but every now and then their example can be just what you need.

What does a role model do for you?  They give you a little jolt, a nudge in a new direction.  Through the things they do and the way they are, they show you things which you could do too.  It’s easier to find inspiration and motivation for your own goals if you look to a role model.  

It’s not uncommon to meet just the right person who can point you in the right direction for a solution to something that is bothering you or which you are seeking to achieve. For example, maybe, like me, you want to improve your fitness.  And that’s what happened to me recently.  I was looking for information and inspiration about getting over my reluctance to go walking. I was immediately inspired by Kristine: the Evergreen Adventuress.

Let me tell you about Kristine.

Kristine – Walker, Hiker Extraordinaire and Role Model

I came across Kristine while looking for information and inspiration about walking. Kristine had just published a post about how she had, over the course of nearly a year, done a virtual walk of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). 

Are you wondering what a virtual walk is? Just because it’s labelled as ‘virtual’, it doesn’t mean that you don’t walk the distance. You do. You just don’t walk the actual trail. Instead, you use the miles that you put into your walking as a measuring stick to edge your way along the map of the real trail that you’ve chosen to walk. Kristine chose the PCT.  

Now the PCT is an unbelievably long walk.  It’s 2,653 miles (4,265 km) long, although Kristine said she did 2,486 miles. That’s an average of just under 7 miles every day for a year.  Could you do that? I know that I couldn’t. Well, not right now. Now do you see what I mean about a role model?

Photo of the green wooden sign for the Pacific Crest Trail with its shield shaped blue and white logo in some woods at Cascade Lock Oregon

Kristine shows us that it is perfectly possible for a person turning 60 to perform marvellous feats of walking. I asked her how she did it and her answers helped me to get going again after an illness. Here are some of the tips she so kindly gave me.

What Motivated Kristine to Undertake Such a Big Challenge?

Kristine told me that she didn’t just fall out of bed one day and decide to tackle the 2,486 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (the PCT). She had been hiking most of her life. So, for Kristine, this was the next step in a long progression of many, many steps.

She wanted a good challenge. It wasn’t her first challenge either.  Having completed some shorter challenges earlier in the year, she wanted to try something heftier.

And the PCT Virtual Challenge is certainly heftier! 

Virtual Walks: Is Going Long Distance For You?

Does the idea of walking that far put you off?  It feels a bit scary doesn’t it. Maybe you think you couldn’t do it.  

Please don’t let such a hefty challenge put you off. Kristine is a role model, somebody who inspires you and shows you what can be done.  It doesn’t mean you have to start off doing that distance right this minute.  In fact, it’s counterproductive to do too much too soon. Start slowly with shorter virtual walks and build up.

But there are lots of upsides to virtual walks. You don’t have to walk a set distance each day and you can take as long as you want. One of the great things about virtual walks is that they turn a routine walk round the block into a bit more of an adventure.  It gives you a taste of the fun of walking a route you’ve never done before. 

Dance your victory dance when you pass milestones or when you gain awards for your achievements.  💃🏼🕺

You learn about places you’ve never been to. Maybe you could try out virtual walks to help decide where you want to go on holiday. It makes walking fun.

You Can Train to Be like Kristine

Kristine gets out there every day and walks. Now, walking 7 miles a day or more like Kristine is not for wimps. It’s tough and tiring, especially on the kind of terrain that Kristine routinely walks on. 

You may not be up to walking the distance to begin with. With careful management of your effort so that you don’t burn yourself out or, worse, injure yourself, you will find that your skills, fitness, energy and motivation increase, slowly but surely. 

You can train yourself at the beginning with shorter walks and build up your stamina and energy for longer walks.  Start off with something far less challenging.  I’m currently doing a virtual walk of Hadrian’s Wall which is 84 miles (135 kilometres) or 201,137 steps. But set off with a small one in Lisbon of 21, 827 steps so that I could get the hang of how to do a virtual walk.  Here’s why Kristine thinks that virtual walks are great.

Follow the Role Model and Join a Virtual Walk

A positive mindset helps overcome the toughest challenges. Kimber and Kristine setting their role model examples out walking

Kristine says that all you really need is a ‘can do’ mindset. She prefers walking by herself or with her dog and her husband, enjoying the walk, going at her own pace. 

However, participating in an organised virtual challenge gives you added incentives. You can do the challenge from anywhere and record your miles via app or web site. You advance along the PCT map, each time you complete a distance-based exercise activity such as running, walking, cycling or swimming.

It’s fun finding where you’ve got to on the map. As well as seeing how far you’ve come, you see how many more miles until the finish line. 

Part of the fun is getting digital postcards for reaching certain milestones and a medal for finishing. In addition, organised challenges provide a sense of community as you compare notes with fellow walkers. Kristine says about her virtual walk,

So, it’s pretty cool. It keeps you motivated and on task as you track your progress.  The whole idea is to get off the couch and get moving.”

How Kristine Routinely Covers the Ground

So how did Kristine cover the 2480 miles of the PCT?  Well, she walks seven days a week, as weather permits, with her beautiful (and very lucky) border collie, Kimber. 

Role model Kristine out walking Kimber racking up miles for her virtual walk

Kristine says she’s a morning person. She likes to ‘get up and at ‘em’ early. Breaking up the mileage into smaller, bite-sized pieces is easier and less daunting.  Kristine and Kimber usually do around 4 to 6 miles in the morning, then maybe 2 to 3 miles in the evening. It varies, depending on schedules and weather. 

 Photo courtesy of pagesandpaws.com

When the weather is bad, Kristine resorts to her Lifestyler treadmill in her basement.  It keeps the miles piling up.

Racking up Miles for Virtual Walks with Longer Hikes

Going out for long hikes with her husband builds up Kristine’s miles. And they are well prepared!  They always fuel up with a substantial breakfast.  (Very sensible!  That’s how armies march – on their stomachs.)

Role model Kristine does longer hikes with her husband to rack up the miles on her virtual walk.
Role Model Kristine and her husband on a longer hike

The two don’t usually stop for a traditional lunch break. To keep up their energy, they pack plenty of snacks such as homemade trail mix, beef jerky, individual tuna pouches and granola bars. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are staunch favourites, too.  So the snacks don’t get crushed, they load them into their rucksacks stored in small hard plastic containers.  

Naturally, drinks are essential to protect agains dehydration. That’s why “power” drinks, such as soda, or even coffee are not on the menu. Kristine’s preferred beverage is water. 

In addition, when not hiking, Kristine walks seven days a week, with her beautiful (and very lucky) border collie, Kimber. 

The Role Model Who Always Learns Something New

Kristine says she is pretty self-disciplined and self-motivated as well as goal-focused. (Not much doubt of that!)  You need determination to keep going and Kristine demonstrates it in bucket loads.  She’s a real role model!

Here’s what Kristine says she learned about practical walking matters from her epic PCT walk.

🥾 Always bring more water than you think you’ll need
🥾 Age + experience trump youth and trail apps every time
🥾 Crushed basil leaves make a good natural bug repellent
🥾 The best adventures are shared adventures
🥾 Epsom salts are worth their weight in gold
🥾 Time doesn’t really exist on the trail. It’s not a race. We get there when we get there 
🥾 Blisters aren’t permanent (she thinks)
🥾 Everything’s better with a dog
🥾 There’s no camaraderie like trail camaraderie 
🥾 Sunscreen baby, sunscreen! 

You’ll find too that developing the ability to focus by daily walking transfers to other challenges of life.  You can apply your new skills to other areas of your life such as work, relationships, creativity, concentration, focus, optimism, positive mindset and more.  Follow your role model and you too can end up with great self-discipline and self-motivation.  

Exercise, being out in the fresh air, learning new things and challenging yourself all increase your chances of living longer and in better health.    

The Thrill of Achieving Your Virtual Walk

Imagine that you followed the star of our role model, Kristine, and started on your very own virtual walk. Like Kristine, you’ve been out there, walking your way along your personal trail. Think of how exciting it is to finish it.  You’re so proud of yourself. You set your goal and you did it. You too are now an adventurer.

You learned a lot along the way.  Walking and undertaking a challenge that stretched you turned out to be a fantastic way to develop life skills you can apply in other areas of your life (work, relationships, creativity, concentration, focus, optimism, positive mindset and more.)

At the same time, you’re also basking in the knowledge that you’ve done a great job in increasing your chances of living longer and in better health. 

Thank you Kristine for your great example and for being our role model.

About Kristine

Headshot of Role Model Kristine, virtual walker

Kristine Naas Lowder runs an inspiring Instagram about hiking, @thymelesswon and a blog, pagesandpaws.com, about books, reading, writing and rural life with Kimber,  her brilliant Border Collie rescue dog. Go take a look.

You might also like:

21 Easy Walking Tips: How to Get Going and Get Fit

Make Exercise a Habit: 9 Super Easy Ways (using your smartphone)

10 Brilliant Reasons to Challenge Yourself

Let me know if you think it helps if you have a role model like Kristine. (She certainly inspired me.) I’d love to hear if you’ve done a really long virtual walk.  Alternatively, tell me where you’d like to do your own virtual walk.  Simply write a quick comment below about your route.  I’m looking for ideas! (Although I do want to walk the Portuguese caminho to Santiago da Compostela in Spain in real life too.)

And don’t forget to sign up for my updates.  Pop your name in the space below and I’ll be welcoming you with open arms.

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