Bellingham Base Camp

It’s time to go stateside.

To remind my body what cold is.

To remember what it’s like to want to go outside to play.

Homeward bound- but where is home?

I moved out of my last apartment about ten months ago, the family farm has been dispersed, and I’ve been mostly living out of a backpack/tent/ranger cabin/aunt’s house/The Cage since then.

I send a message to an aunt in Bellingham. Will she and her family take in a wandering waif?

After the time-warp of another long flight where I arrived in Seattle three hours after I left Kuala Lumpur, I rediscover what cold is.

I don’t know when I’ve been so happy to be cold.

It only lasts a few minutes. Then I’m doing a jumping dance to keep warm waiting for friends to rescue me.

One of my first stops stateside is to my Grandma’s house to collect all the boxes of gear I’ve been sending to her. It’s like Christmas. I’m singing ‘Happy PCT Hike to Me”. Of course the first thing I open is a big box with a lot of tape and packaging. Once it’s all unraveled my grandma’s comment is “All that for a pair of scanties?” But they aren’t just scanties grandma- they are merino wool scanties.


Two months to plan and train at the Bellingham Base Camp.

In very short order I have the studio above the garage strewn with gear.

The joys of playing with gear under the supervision of Finn (who supervises all goings on in the studio).

There’s a dehydrator in one corner. Gear everywhere in different phases of being worn and tested. My PCT to-do’s are taped all over the wall.

It’s nice to be able to buy ‘American Food’ for my test kitchen. (Finding the right food for backpacking is a little complicated in Malaysia. Most things are fresh, or found in versions that only sort of resemble what we would find in a grocery store in the U.S.)

As for training- I get a lot of practice walking in the rain.

I also have full access to a kayak in the garage- I’m just down the street from a paddle in Lake Whatcom.  When it’s sunny- I’m on the water getting a core workout!

There are as many opinions on how to train for the PCT as there are people who walk it.  My thought is- if I’m outside (which usually equates to a big grin), doing anything active (my body moving outside in the elements), life is good.  Activity is good in every and any amount.  I’ll settle for yoga and dancing while looking out a window to a show of wild wind, a heavy downpour and then hail.

My other part of training is eating.

chocolate pretzels?

I am eating in the hopes of giving my muscles some extra calorie stores. I want to hit the trail ahead of the calorie game. I know I’ll be playing catch-up on the activity output/calorie input game with my body pretty soon into the hike.

This training plan involves perusing The Golden Book of Chocolate with my cousin, proceeding to attempt a recipe, and eating the whole of the result (whether it looks like the picture or not)- washed down with whole milk.

Also- a good number of those snickers bars I bought to go into my resupplies aren’t going to make it into the box.

About Natalie

Natalie Fisher is a dancer, teacher, silk aerialist, and choreographer. She is inspired by the wilderness. Her work involves finding the seam where her worlds of dance, aerials and the wilderness meet.

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