Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Thru Hikers

My Colorado Trail Thru-Hike Was a Journey Back to Myself

Patricia Cameron set out to hike the 486-mile Colorado Trail to raise awareness for her nonprofit. She ended up finding out even more about her personal strengths.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All Access
$0.27 / day*

  • A $500 value with everything in the Print + Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content from every title in the Outside network like Outside, SKI, Climbing, and more
  • Try out best-in-class outdoor gear and apparel for free before you buy
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Online skills and fitness courses
  • Coming Soon: Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
Join Outside+
Backpacker

Print + Digital
Special Price
$0.07 / day*

  • Annual subscription to Backpacker magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content and gear reviews on Backpacker.com
  • Ad-free access to Backpacker.com
Join Backpacker

*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

When I started my Colorado Trail thru-hike, my only plan was to increase visibility for my nonprofit, Blackpackers, through my social media and blog posts. We work to bridge the gap in representation in the outdoors through gear lending and community events; what better place to represent that than on a thru-hike? What I didn’t see coming was how much this trip would change me personally. My thru-hike of the CT turned out to be one of my most life-changing events—second only to the birth of my son.  

The author on trail just past Taylor Lake at mile 460 on the Colorado Trail.

I became a mother at 23 and have spent the last 15 years raising an amazing boy.  I’ve tried to teach him how to grow into his identity and express it in the ways that feel most comfortable to him. But in the course of guiding him into his own selfhood, I nearly forgot my own. The CT presented the perfect set of circumstances to reintroduce myself to, well, myself. I found my hiker legs late—somewhere around Lake City about three-quarters of the way through the hike—but the mental shift came much sooner.

Hikers Eating
“Trail angels waiting at the end of the trail with food, where I went straight for the fresh fruit,” says Cameron. Photo by Kennan Harvey

After a week of camping alone, I started to enjoy my quiet, solo nights. That’s when I heard my voice again, drawing me out into the mountains. This is who I am without due dates, bills, clocking in and out. It was the me that wasn’t just a mother or the executive director of a nonprofit. It wasn’t what I had expected or what I had planned, but it was a wonderful gift. 

Tent on colorado trail
Waking up to sunshine at Taylor Lake after a wild hailstorm the night before. Photo by Kennan Harvey