If you’ve ever dreamed of pulling a Wild and as you hike the Pacific Crest Trail, you’ll enjoy the virtual hiker escape TikTok, a hashtag with over 16 million views. With bear spray, a Diva Cup, and a pack full of dehydrated meals, these hikers traverse difficult trails over weeks or months, documenting everything to make new friends to poop outside.
Shannon, 25, an electrical power systems engineer, is currently on the East Coast, hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) and sharing it with her 19,000 subscribers on TikTok. This is his second hike, having cut his teeth on the 300 km long Upper Hiking Trail (SHT) in September. The Minnesota native’s videos have garnered nearly a million likes.
Shannon’s first hike was the result of a few weeks off work during the pandemic and ‘wanting to[ing] to do something cool, âshe tells Bustle – and that’s why she thinks people are drawn to her videos. âI think hiking is getting a lot more popular right now, especially with people coming back there [post-pandemic]Shannon tells Bustle. âWithout cell phone service, you don’t feel pressured to respond to every Snap, email, and text that comes to you – it’s a slower, but healthier lifestyle that lets you focus on what matters. is important, âshe adds.
But you don’t have to be a survivalist to hit the trail. “I had never backpacked for more than a weekend, had never hiked alone, and had never camped alone,” she tells Bustle of his first hike. âWhen I did my last summit on the SHT, I had a great feeling that I didn’t want to end it. I had been out for three weeks in a row but wanted more. That’s when she decided the TA was next. “I’m 12 days old and happier than I’ve ever been in my life,” she tells Bustle from a hotel pit stop in Washington, DC.
Curious what it’s like not having regular access to WiFi or dry socks for weeks on end? This is what a day in the life of Shannon looks like on the trail.
The first thing I do when I wake up everyday is walk around mercilessly and find my phone, which I keep in the bottom of my sleeping bag so the battery doesn’t cool down overnight. I take my phone out of airplane mode (keeping it Airplane mode saves battery) and see if I’ve received any messages from my friends or family. I check the weather if I can. I then debate going back to sleep for another hour, but I usually hear other hikers packing and making breakfast, which inspires me to do the same.
If it’s cold, I’ll start boiling water on my stove. I put dehydrated fruit and oatmeal in a mug and add hot water for my breakfast. If it’s hot, I like cold oatmeal. If I’m feeling really fancy, I might have some dehydrated, scrambled eggs. I also like to have instant coffee with dehydrated milk to make myself a âhiking latteâ.
After eating, I will put the tent, food, and sleep system in my backpack. I make sure to put my snacks for the day in my pocket, so I can refuel quickly during the day. Then I mentally go through my checklist to make sure I don’t forget anything at the campsite. I also look at my map to make a plan for the day. My goal is to know where I want to be that night, and what stops I want to make during the day. Sometimes I walk through an area with showers, so I’ll take one or spend the night in that camp or hostel.
I start the hike. I usually eat some sort of bar every hour between breakfast and lunch during the hike to make sure I’m getting enough calories throughout the day.
I always stop for lunch. I love eating peanut butter and jelly, hard cheeses with crackers, “pita pizza” (a pocket of pita with Pizza squeeze and cheese in), and maybe even instant mashed potatoes. If I feel like it, I could even take a little nap on the flat ground right next to the trail.
Back on the track. I have snacks all day and filter the water when I cross streams. I will usually go to the campsite that I have set for myself as a goal, but if I am exhausted or in pain, it is not good to push your body too far, then I will walk a bit more and rest at my best. first opportunity.
If the weather is bad, but it’s not dangerous, I just try to take it and keep walking. The rain brings a lot of beauty to the trail which you might not see at other times. In dangerous weather I follow the best safety precaution line and try to find the first shelter available.
6.30 p.m. – 8.00 p.m.
I do my best not to walk at night, but sometimes I come home a little after dark. When I get to camp, I do everything in order of how much it sucks to do in the dark, from the most terrible to the least terrible. The tasks are: find a place to hang the bear bag; pitch my tent and throw everything I sleep with inside; cook dinner and clean; hang all my scented things (food, toothbrush / paste, soap) on the rope of the bear bag; set up the inside of my tent; and put my hiking clothes in a bag to use as a second pillow. I also put my water filter, phone, and spare battery in the bottom of my sleeping bag so they don’t get cold overnight.
If I’m lucky, more will be on site and we can build a fire together, and I will chat with them before I get into my tent for the night. People have taught me a lot about hiking, camping and life in general. I have met some of the most amazing people of all time.
We call 9:00 am “midnight hiker” – everyone falls asleep. I fall asleep and the next day I start again.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.