Today, we sit down with Heather 'Anish' Anderson. Anish is an adventurer, climber, writer, speaker and record breaking thru-hiker.
She smashed the Pacific Crest Trail record in 2013 and, just recently, the Appalachian Trail record in 2015... for both women AND men. She averaged over 40 miles per day for 54 days on the AT and a whopping 44 miles per day for 60 days on the PCT.
I really admire how you have incorporated your hiking passion into your life. Have you noticed any big sacrifices doing that? What are your other big interests?
The only sacrifice has been my privacy. It is a little overwhelming for this introvert to share her ruminations and adventures with the world. All of my interests involve getting out into nature; running, hiking, climbing, mountaineering, peakbagging, fastpacking, etc.
You talked about overcoming fears in your Ted Talk. Day in, day out, what was the toughest thing for you while attempting the AT Fastest Known Time?
On the AT the biggest foe was sleep deprivation. It's always my biggest challenge. I know from the PCT that after a month of accumulated sleep deprivation I'm going to go to a dark place mentally. Facing the length of the AT knowing all that was going to come with another 2,000+ mi FKT (Fastest Known Time) was daunting. There was often this voice in the back of my mind asking, "Why are you doing this again?"
I know you love 'trail magic' (don't we all?). What has been your most memorable or favorite trail magic?
It's a tie. When I was thru hiking the PCT in 2005, an anonymous person paid for my breakfast at a diner. Then the waitress winked and gave me a gratis dessert to go.
On the CDT in 2006, a rancher and his wife drove my partner and I two hours (roundtrip) out of their way to take us back to the trail just because they saw us hitching and wanted to help.
Biggest aspirations this year. What can we look forward to following you do?
Ooh boy, hopefully a lot!! Right now I'm headed to New Zealand to climb a lot of mountains. This summer I'll be working on the highest hundred peaks in Washington (I'm at 52). Then hopefully I'll be attempting a couple of sub-2000 mile FKT's :)
Favorite Greenbelly flavor?
Dark Chocolate! Review here.
By Chris Cage
Chris launched Greenbelly Meals in 2014 after thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail for 6 months. Since then, Greenbelly has been written up by everyone from Backpacker Magazine to Fast Company. He wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail and currently works from his laptop all over the globe. Instagram: @chrisrcage.
650-calorie fuel. No cooking. No cleaning.