Interview with Thru-Hiker Monkey

Monkey and Mamma Bear at the Northern PCT Terminus
Monkey and Mamma Bear at the Northern PCT Terminus

I’d like to welcome tHInK outsidE’s second interview with Monkey, the youngest thru-hiker to complete the Pacific Crest Trail. She is another dynamo young lady that is packed with energy, adventure, and determination. Enjoy this heart-warming and truly inspiring interview.

From Heather and Sierra’s PCT Thru- Hike Journal:

“Heather aka “Mama Bear” and Sierra aka “Monkey” are a mother and daughter who successfully hiked the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in 2012, starting in late April and finishing in Manning Park, British Columbia on September 23. We passed several unique milestones along the way: Sierra finished third grade, celebrated her 9th birthday, and started fourth grade all on the trail, becoming the youngest person on record to complete a continuous thru-hike of the official PCT!”

Interview with Monkey, 4th grade PCT record holder
~by the middle-school class “tHInK outsidE”

tHInK outsidE – What did you miss the most from home while on the trail?
Monkey – “I missed my dad, my cats, and sleeping in my own bed.”

tHInK outsidE – Did you ever feel lonely?
Monkey – “No, I was with my mom, and I enjoyed meeting the other hikers on the trail.”

tHInK outsidE – What did your friends think about you finishing the whole PCT?
Monkey – “My friends were really excited and amazed.”

tHInK outsidE – How was homeschooling while on the trail?
Monkey – “Homeschooling on the trail was fun, but some days it was hard to do school work on the trail because we were hiking so many miles. I worked on math every day at lunch, and some days I wished I could just relax like the other hikers. But I loved reading in the tent at night.”

tHInK outsidE – How does it feel to break a record?
Monkey – “It felt really incredible to have accomplished my goal.”

tHInK outsidE – Is there something really important that you forgot to pack?
Monkey – “I didn’t forget to pack anything, but I did lose two things on the trail. I lost my purple Snow Peak titanium mug near Wrightwood, California and my sunglasses a day or two before Crater Lake in Oregon.”

tHInK outsidE – Name the three most awesomest animals and wildlife you have seen on the PCT?
Monkey – “The three most awesome animals I saw on the PCT were baby bear cubs, silverback marmots (I called them “Grandpa marmots” because they had silver hair), and a baby rattlesnake.”

tHInK outsidE – What was the worst weather conditions along the trail? How did you get through it?
Monkey – “The worst weather conditions on the trail were during a three day storm in Washington. It rained and hailed throughout the night, thunder boomed, and lightning flashed across the sky. During the day we hiked through a cold mist, which made our teeth chatter at times.

I got through the storm because I was determined to hike the PCT, and a little weather could not mess up my plans. We also received some incredible trail magic during the storm, including hot food and drinks, candy bars, and other snacks.”

tHInK outsidE – What was your favorite part of the hike and your least favorite?
Monkey – “My favorite part of the hike was reaching Monument 78 at the border because I was really excited to have accomplished my goal. I also really enjoyed hiking through the mountains. One of my favorite days was when we hiked over Muir Pass and passed by the yellow-legged frogs at Wanda Lake and stopped to investigate the tadpoles and aquatic invertebrates at a pond near Evolution Lake.

My least favorite part of the hike was hiking on really hot days in the less scenic parts of the desert. One day it was so hot it melted the sour gummy worms in my mom’s pack! Of course, we laughed a lot about that, which made it fun.“

tHInK outsidE – What hike do you want to do next?
Monkey – “I really want to hike the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail to complete the Triple Crown. This summer I plan to hike the Colorado Trail with my mom. It is shorter than the others (about 480 miles), so we can hike it without taking time off from school.”


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

  2. It is so amazing to hear from these young folks – makes me wonder what they will accomplish when they grow up!

    • I know. Right? Seriously, determination that strong is rare indeed. In my experience most kids do not like being uncomfortable. These girls defied all and kept to the goal. Just thinking about them keeps me focused and positive when things are not so pleasurable out on the trail. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Yes, watching these young ladies journeys has been very motivating for my two sisters and I.
        Heading up Whitney it was like “we can make it, we’re only on mile 17 – Sunshine does 20’s and 30’s all the time!”

  3. This was great. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Great interview. All these young ones doing throughs. Pretty cool. Go Mama Bear and Monkey!!

    • They are an amazing duo. I just love sharing Monkey’s take on all things hiking. Very humbling. Good to hear appreciation. They will be hiking the Colorado Trail this summer.

  5. Love the interviews. Wow, I am amazed. Thanks… bill

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