Heather Anderson, who goes by the trail name “Anish,” has thru-hiked the Triple Crown—the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail—three times each. The 2019 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year has seven fastest known times (FKTs) to her name, including setting the overall self-supported records on the PCT in 2013 and the AT in 2015. She’s also a professional speaker on a mission to inspire others to “dream big, be courageous” and is the author of two hiking memoirs, Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home and Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail and a preparatory guide to long-distance hiking, Adventure Ready. Find her on Instagram @_WordsFromTheWild_ or her website wordsfromthewild.net.
After a five-year hiatus, thru-hiking legend Heather “Anish” Anderson just set another FKT: the 250-mile section of the Appalachian Trail that runs through Pennsylvania. In this essay, she explores how her relationship with the sport has evolved over the past decade since her groundbreaking Pacific Crest Trail record in 2013.