Interview with Thru-Hiker Sunshine

Sunshine finishing the AT
Sunshine completing the AT

A few weeks ago I introduced tHInK outsidE, a Pacific Crest trail curriculum for kids. I’d like to share a very inspiring and unique interview conducted on-line by middle-schoolers and famous Sunshine. Sunshine has completed the PCT in 2011, the AT in 2012, and will be starting the CDT in a few weeks. She will be the youngest to complete the Triple Crown (hiking all three long trails). Be sure and follow Sunshine and her dad, Balls trail journal as they prepare and hike the Continental Divide Trail 2013.

Interview with Sunshine, 7th grade thru-hiker
~by the middle-school class “tHInK outsidE”

tHInK outsidE – What was the most difficult weather conditions you have encountered?
Sunshine – “Wind, and rain. The wind is very difficult to deal with because sometimes it is stronger than me. For example when I am on a cliff and suddenly I am being pushed by very strong wind. Also sometimes the wind knocks down our tent. The rain is hard because it makes you cold and wet, which is not always pleasant. On the AT, the rain made the rocks slippery, so it was hard to walk on rocks.”

tHInK outsidE – How did you get your trail name?
Sunshine -” I got my tail name when I was section hiking with my dad before my thru-hike. A fellow section hiker gave me the trail name because of my hair color and sunny disposition.”

tHInK outsidE – What was the hardest part of the journey?
Sunshine – “Everything was hard, except eating. I ate a lot while hiking and when we hitched into a trail town.
Leaving family and friends, hiking etc. Honestly I don’t know what is harder.”

tHInK outsidE – How did you feel when you were done with the PCT and AT?
Sunshine – “I was impressed with myself. I honestly don’t understand how I did it. When I am hiking, some things don’t seem real, it is so cool to have these opportunities. I just don’t understand, its just too cool! The miles always go so fast.”

tHInK outsidE – Which trail was the hardest you’ve completed?
Sunshine – “The PCT had more elevation gain and was further between resupply towns, so it was harder.”

tHInK outsidE – Did you listen to music?
Sunshine – “Yes, I LOVE to listen to music! Except when it is dark or early in the morning. We need to listen for animals(bears, snakes, mountain lions, etc.) so we do not surprise them, which would make them defensive, and could cause an attack. I enjoy listening to Taylor Swift and POP music. We also like to talk A LOT! We mostly listen to music when we are tired or going up steep hills.”

tHInK outsidE – Where did your motivation come from?
Sunshine – “My iPod and talking. I was very motivated to complete the challenge that I committed to.”

tHInK outsidE – What was your favorite trail food?
Sunshine – “Snickers and candy (Starbursts).”

tHInK outsidE – What is the weirdest trail name you have ever heard?
Sunshine – “Drop and Roll, she got her name because her coat caught on fire, and had to Drop and Roll. Everyone was yelling “DROP AND ROLL, DROP AND ROLL!!! at her.”

tHInK outsidE – Who were the funniest people you have met on both trails?
Sunshine “Provisions, was living out of a shelter, on the AT, and was mentally unstable, one could say CRAZY. He would run outside in his underwear, in a storm with a BIG stick, in the middle of the night to practice martial arts. Every day he would ask someone if he could borrow their iPod or iPhone and dance to it in Ballet. One night he put a borrowed iPod in his pants while dancing. There was one guy on the AT who carried a foam sword, for fun, and Provisions told him that he (Provisions) was training to be a ninja and right now he was trying to earn his broad sword. Provisions kept asking him to hit him with his foam sword. Also he told everyone that he was not an ordinary ninja. He was a sweeping ninja(as in sweeping the floor, with a broom, and swept the floor while dancing.) When I was trying to go to sleep he was using the end of the bunk I was using as a chin up bar. His face kept disappearing and reappearing over and over between the rungs on the ladder.”

tHInK outsidE – What made you want to do the Triple Crown?
Sunshine – “I have always wanted to hike the PCT. So when we completed the PCT we just had to hike the other two.”


  1. Pingback: Welcome 3rd Annual tHInK outsidE | Lady on a Rock

  2. I love this. Such a determined young lady.

    • Just think we all can continue following Monkey and Sunshine this summer. Monkey will be hiking the Colorado Trail with her mom and Sunshine will be starting the Continental Divide Trail with her dad in just a few weeks. I am looking forward to their adventures.

  3. You are SO cool! I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your blog, and I can’t wait to finish the PCT, myself. I fantasize about it with my husband when the children are older. Thanks for bringing such wonderful interviews to your website.

    • Glad you stopped by! I follow you and love Glitter and Grit . Congratulations on your new son. There is a time for everything. My youngest daughter went to college 3 years ago, and I hit the trail literally. Enjoy your young family. They will soon be old enough to haul little backpacks. 🙂

  4. I’ll have to show this to my 7th Grader. When we told him we were hiking the 165 mile Tahoe Rim Trail this year, he said, “I can’t do that!”.

    • This young lady is definitely to be reckoned with and an inspiration for all. The question that did come up is “Why are just girls record holders?” Interesting… Thoughts anyone?

  5. Sunshine has been and will be a great inspiration for me as I attempt the PCT this year. My husband and I were able to provide trail magic for them in their 2011 PCT hike, and though exhausted that day, she just kept going. We wish them well on the CDT this year.

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