Mari Hoffman: Conquering the Pacific Crest Trai

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Mari Hoffman: Conquering the Pacific Crest Trail

Mari Hoffman: Conquering the Pacific Crest Trail

Help Mari honor her Mom by raising funds for early detection ovarian cancer research!

Tina’s Wish is thrilled to support Mari Hoffman as she embarks on a courageous journey of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to honor her mother, who lost her fight with Ovarian Cancer last year. Mari will be hiking 2,650 miles from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada, and will be fundraising for Tina’s Wish every step of the way. Mari began her journey Friday, May 10th and is currently 1,000+ miles in.

Mari on the Map:

Monday July, 8th-Miles 790-1018 (skipped mile 790-907 on this stretch)

Kennedy Meadows South to Kennedy Meadows North! The Sierras! 

Wow, I can’t believe I have made it here! Getting to Kennedy Meadows is a huge milestone in the PCT journey. It signals the start of the Sierra section of the PCT and is a goodbye to the dry and hot desert! Finally there are no more water carries and water and shade is basically everywhere! I arrived at Kennedy Meadows and it was so nice that my dad and brother came up to meet me for the weekend! We ate lots of good food and stayed a weekend in an airstream. I obviously gave my dad a laundry list of gear items for him to bring for me so I could switch some stuff out. The sierras have been truly beautiful! My first section I refueled with 7 days of food which would be enough to get me from Kennedy Meadows South to Kearsarge pass. This section was definitely very physically tough with big climbs and heavy packs, especially with the addition of the bear cannister and my micro spikes, but it was beautiful and rewarding. Some of my favorite parts was walking through gorgeous meadows with tons of new wild flowers that I hadn’t seen before, the many marmots that entertain me while I hike, and hiking with friends I’ve met on the trail. I got to Crabtree Meadow where I camped the night before to do a sunrise summit of Mount Whitney. I’ve hiked amount Whitney two times before because of the John Muir Trail and it astonishes me every time how beautiful it is up there on the highest point in the continental US.

I was feeling pretty tired and almost decided to skip the summit, but I knew I wanted to experience it with the group of people that I met. I was up on the ridge for the sunrise and the colors are truly insane. It was freezing at the top so I only spent an hour up there and then headed down where it was hot and I took a plunge into Guitar Lake! I was exhausted and took a nice nap for the day. I knew that the next day entailed Forrester Pass which is the highest point on the PCT and I wanted to get a little closer to it for the next days hike. So my group packed up and we hiked 5 more miles that day. The next day was a gradual climb up to the base of Forrester and the scenery drastically changes to high alpine lakes and lack of trees. The pass is definitely a daunting one but it actually was super nice and the views were fantastic. This was probably my favorite day on trail so far. At the top, there were about 15 of us and I actually knew everyone and it was such a fun summit. There was snow on the backside so I got to use my micro spikes and also do some glissading down! I camped that night in Vidette Meadow and enjoyed a fire that someone made and slept very well that night. The next day I woke up and was ready to go into Bishop through Kearsarge Pass. Once in Bishop, I had a nice time relaxing and resupplying. My first stop was the brewery and then I proceeded to do my trail chores. At this point, I decided that I wanted to meet my family in Maine where we go to Little Sebago Lake every summer as I really was missing them and it would be a good mental and physical break from the trail. Since I was going to be taking a week off, I decided to skip up from Kearsarge pass at PCT mile 790 to Mammoth at PCT mile 907 as I could then get to Reno to fly out to meet my family and because I had already done that section on the JMT. It also felt like the right decision as there was a major detour in the PCT because of the San Jouquin Bridge that was damaged this past winter. I was sad to leave my tramily and bubble, but I also knew that this would be a good way for us to be reunited when I came back from my break. It also felt like fate that it was a weekend and the road to Reds Meadow in Mammoth is only open on the weekend due to construction so I felt like it was my time. I got a ride up to Mammoth with a friend of a friend, also good fate, and was excited to see who I would meet! The second I got there, I was reunited with my friend Isabelle/Stowaway and was excited that we would hike this next section together. That night I soaked in the hot springs there and felt very rejuvenated to get back on trail! I had more than enough food to get to Toulomne Meadows where I can hitch into the Valley to resupply and camp one night. I went over Donahue pass and enjoyed the views of Lyell Glacier. Since the Toulmnee (lol not sure how you spell it) meadows general store is closed still, PCT hikers were allowed one night to camp in Yosemite Valley which is normally a hard place to get permits to camp before. I have been before but I always forget how powerful and beautiful the large granite faces are. I had my favorite hitch yet into the Valley. Isabelle and I got picked up by a father and daughter and granddaughter road-trip where they were traveling around the whole US from the UK and the baby was so damn cute. I ate good food in the Valley and took a dip in the river as it was extremely hot out. After that, I had 4 days to get to Kennedy Meadows North.

This past section was definitely one of the harder physical and mental sections for me. There were huge climbs and descents everyday as we went through the Yosemite wilderness and I’ve never seen more mosquitos in my life. One day it was so bad that I couldn’t take a break from hiking without being swarmed and it brought me to tears. It didn’t help that Yosemite Valley was completely out of bug spray. I accepted that I had to wear my rain gear to not get eaten alive. It made me sad that once I got to clap, I really just had to get right into my tent to avoid the mosquitos. During this time too, mentally I was feeling pretty drained from hiking and it was getting harder to motivate myself to do the same thing everyday. But I just kept telling myself one day at a time and that I’ll be in town soon and that will be a good reset. My last day of hiking before getting into Kennedy Meadows North was a beautiful climb out of the meadow and to a nice ridge line and had spectacular views and lack of mosquitos since it was dry. I finally could sit without being attacked by bugs. I also had the prettiest sunset that I had seen on trail yet, it felt like a really nice pick me up. I cowboy camped with a girl I met that day and was happy to not have to escape the bugs in my tent. The next day I got into Kennedy Meadows North and have been enjoying my stay here. I treated myself to a bed and ate tons of yummy food and really loved the salad bar they had. It’s a cute little horse camp that definitely has been adapted to the need of PCT hikers. I’m getting back on trail today and am excited for this next section to Tahoe as I am going to take it a bit slower with my mileage to hopefully catch up on some sleep and feel less mentally and physically fatigue. I’ve been having some issues with my left ankle joint from all the climbs and wanted to give myself to freedom to take it slower if I need to. I haven’t been the best at keeping up on these updates but I hope to give my next update once I’m in Tahoe and should have lots of time on my break. Thanks for following along in my journey!


Tuesday, July 2nd- Miles 588-700.

Tehachapi to KM!

Wow so the desert is definitely long! All that everyone could talk about in Tehachapi was that Kennedy Meadows is close which means the start of the Sierras! Although it was coming up next, I still had about 150 miles of desert and some water carries to get through. Overall the section was still very pretty and had many Joshua trees. Some of my dislikes was that it was hot and sandy and a tease for the sierras coming up! I did a quick in and out resupply in Ridgecrest to get me enough food for the two more days that I had to hike into Kennedy Meadows. I had two nights of solo camping which I still get slightly scared when it’s just me, but I’ve felt more comfortable and almost enjoyed it a little more each time. I then found a crew of friends who caught up with me and we stuck together until getting into Kennedy Meadows. After some tougher climbs and descends, I made it to mile 703 and into the start of the Sierras! It has been such a nice time in Kennedy Meadows! I’ve taken a zero here and my dad and brother met me and we have stayed in an airstream at Grumpy’s resort in Kennedy Meadows for the past two nights! I did my trail chores and received my resupply box that I sent prior to the trail which included my bear canister which you are required to use in the Sierra section. It felt really nice to have my family here as I always miss them on trail. I am very excited to start this next section in the Sierras and for the plentiful amount of water and swimming that there will be on trail!

Friday, June 14th

36 Days, Miles 369-558

“Hello! I have officially been on trail for 36 days! I honestly cannot believe how fast time has gone by. The days themself feel pretty long and slow, but then overall time has been flying! I’m currently in Tehachapi taking my first full zero day which has been much needed! I have been loving it out here, but I mentally and physically needed a day where I woke up and said I am not hiking today. This last section from wrightwood to tehachapi definitely felt pretty tough, but I am proud to have gotten to where I am and to have gotten new shoes! It was super nice that my family friend John came up to Wrightwood to resupply me and take me out for lunch! A great perk of not being too far from home.

I stayed at an air bnb with some hikers and it was definitely catered for hikers. They even had pajamas you could wear while they did your laundry. The next day I had a big climb and summited Mt. Baden-Powell at 9,407 feet! I camped at Jimmy Springs campground and this started the San Gabriel mountain section. I definitely started feeling way stronger around this section and stopped using KT tape to support my ankle that I previously sprained before the trail.

At this point I split from Lee and Isabelle because we had different mileage plans and that felt scary and a little lonely at first, but I ended up meeting lots of new people that day. The beauty of the trail is that there is always someone nice and cool to meet either just in front of you or just behind you! Hiking in this area was hot, but I did some late evening hiking to beat the heat and could even see the lights from LA down below. The next day I took a nero into the town of Acton. Taking a nero means that you hike less miles than you normally would in a full day, but it’s not quite a zero mile day. I got a mango margarita and camped at the 49er Saloon. It was a lovely donation based camp spot behind a bar! It had a shower, bucket laundry, charging station, and nice spots to camp.

The next day was one of my favorites on trail! I had 10 miles to Agua Dulce and went through the Vasquez rock area which featured extraterrestrial liked rocks. The most exciting event of the day though was that the Agua Dulce Women’s Center happen to have their annual PCT free hiker lunch the day I was going into the town. They were so happy to see us as they had only had one hiker so far. It was a lovely taco salad lunch with a buffet of homemade deserts. The people were so kind and welcoming to us hikers. The PCT literally goes through downtown Agua Dulce. One of my favorite parts of the trail has been just experiencing the many different communities and towns that the trail goes through and I am always blown away by how kind and generous the people are. A big highlight of this section was hiking the LA aqueduct at night! The trail goes into the Mojave desert and follows the flat and extremely hot LA aqueduct for 18 miles, with no water accessible. Pretty ironic since you’re literally hiking next to concrete containing water. It has sort of become a trail tradition to hike this section at night. There was a large crew hiking that night and we all got glow sticks and made it a big party! It was really fun, but also extremely exhausting as I wasn’t able to nap that day and am used to going to bed at 9 pm. I made it through though and finally camped at a bridge at 2:45 am. I slept in the next morning and had a lovely time in the shade napping that day until that evening when I carried on 10 more miles.

That night was my first night camping alone. I never had gotten my tent up faster than that first night camping alone. I was most worried about mountain lions although I know they are very rare and to be honest, I didn’t even know if they would be in that section. Anyways, I put my ear plugs in and called it a night. In the morning, I was proud of myself and actually enjoyed just being fully on my own schedule. That morning I had 13 miles to get to mile 558 where you can hitch into Tehachapi. I hitched with my friend Linguini and into town I went! The first thing I did was get a pizza and a beer and it was delicious. It felt really nice to not be rushed getting my trail chores down and I resupplied at Walmart which is so cheap and has such a great selection. I ate lots of yummy calories in Tehachapi such as pizza, thai food, an all you can eat Chinese buffet, and got a malt! I stayed one night at a motel and then the other night at trail angel, Barb’s, hiker hut. Her property is beautiful and used to be an apple orchard. There were a bunch of hikers camping there and we had a beautiful sunset. I am excited for this next section as it means I am getting closer to Kennedy Meadows and the Sierras!”

Wednesday, June 5th,

Twenty Six Days and 369 miles in:

“Hello, update from the trail on day 26! I’m overall doing well and am currently in Wrightwood after taking a nero! A Nero is when you do less than your normal miles but then stay in town for the night!

This past week has really been amazing on the trail, there has been lots of water! Some of my favorite spots were camping at the beautiful deep creek bridge! I got into camp early and took a swim and then headed to be early for an earlier day to hike to the hot springs! I planned my resupply in Idllywild for 6 days to get to Big Bear Lake. Wow, it was definitely a tough section to get there! On the first day out of town, I had a huge climb from Paradise Valley Cafe up into the San Jacinto mountain area. My pack was extra heavy because there was a 14 mile water carry and I had my full 6 days of food! That was my longest day of hiking so far, but I did get to see a full moon and sunset at the same time which was awesome! The San Jacinto area was beautiful and was a nice switch up from the desert! I had some lovely camp spots up in the clouds which made for great sunsets and sunrises! After going through that area I then had a huge descent dropping back into the desert! I felt my ankle a bit on the descent, but that seems unavoidable when you’re dropping 8,000 feet! That night in the desert was the windiest night I had yet. My tent collapsed about 4 times and the wind was so loud. I am not sure how much I slept, but it was not much! I was very motivated to get out hiking that morning.

To a very pleasant surprise, once I hit the I-10 oasis there was trail magic! Trail angel, mama bear, had a whole platter of yummy fruit and vegetables and hot dogs! It was exactly what I needed after a rough night. After a nice break, I kept on hiking with a nice crew from the I-10 oasis and we camped that night at the White Water Preserve. The river was really nice and I slept so well that night. My favorite day on trail has been hanging at the deep creek hot springs! I did 20 miles that day, but spent the middle of the day switching off between the cold river and the hot pool!

The next day, I got even more swimming opportunity at Silverwood lake! It is definitely starting to get hot and really feel like summer temperatures! There is supposed to be a heat wave this week, which I am not looking forward to. The next day was the famous Cajon Pass where there is a McDonalds .4 miles from the trail! It was my first time having a McGriddle and it was delicious. That day was full on June gloom which was a nice break from the heat! I then had my biggest day yet, hiking 23 miles with 5,000 feet of elevation gain to get up into Wrightwood area, with a 16 miles water carry! I hiked near Mountain High ski resort where I actually have skied when I was younger. There were many lupines and beautiful flowers. It was so nice to get into wrightwood and it’s such a cute mountain town! My family friend John met me here and was very kind and bought a resupply for me and took myself and my current trail family out for lunch! I got my trail name, magic! Since I have such great family and friends in SOCAL, there’s been plenty of trail magic to go around that I have shared with others. So some other hikers have noticed that if they stick around me, there may be some trail magic around! I’ve been meeting many more hikers and definitely starting to build a community here!

The next section should be pretty hot, but also beautiful in the San Gabriel Mountains! I’ve finally started to feel less tired on the trail as my body has been adapting and getting stronger, hopefully that will mean more time for more updates!”

Tuesday, May 21st,

Twelve days and 151 miles in:

“Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 12 days since I started the trail! Last night I stayed in Idyllwild, my dad came up to visit and took me out to Italian food which was delicious.  The days have felt long, but time is flying by! I am feeling very happy and grateful to be out here. I feel like I am getting stronger everyday and am feeling less of the aches and pains each time I hike! My dad joined me for the first three days and we did 30 miles together. He then got picked up and I was on my own! But not really because I have met so many people out here, there really is a great trail community! The desert has definitely been hot, but also really beautiful! I’ve seen seven rattlesnakes so far. My typical routine is wake up at 5:30-6 ish and start packing up and eat some breakfast! Then hit the trail! Since the hottest hours of the day are between 11-3, I try to get most of my miles done in the morning and then take a nice and long siesta and then finish up the day with some more hiking! I have stayed at some beautiful tent-sites and have seen some great sunrises and sunsets! I have been enjoying my time out here but it also has been very physically and mentally challenging, but that’s all part of it! Today I am hitting the trail again from mile 151! My next resupply will be in Big Bear Lake. My body has definitely been adjusting to being outside and hiking everyday and I thought I would be journaling more, but I have been exhausted! I hope to now give some more frequent updates! Here are some pictures so far!

I also just wanted to say how grateful I am for all of the donations to Tina’s Wish. Thank you to everyone who has donated, I am so appreciative of your generosity and following me in this journey. I am so grateful for all of the support I have from my family and friends.”

Thursday May 9th, Days before the hike begins:

“I am feeling both very excited and jumbled with nerves to hit the trail this Friday! I am grateful that my dad will be starting this adventure with me! He will be hiking the first three days with me, planning to go to Mount Laguna. This past week has been full of last minute gear buys, food shopping, practice hikes, and my dad putting up with me incessantly talking about the trail. Getting ready for the PCT has been quite an experience with lots of ups and downs. Now, I just want to get out there and start walking!”

Meet Mari as she begins her courageous journey of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in honor of her mother:

“My mom, Cindy Katler Hoffman, passed away on January 30th, 2023. She battled ovarian cancer in a fearless two year long fight. My mom was fiercely confident and independent and modeled for me and my siblings to seek our own sense of self. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail has always been merely a dream for me, but my mom always encouraged us to pursue our dreams and make them a reality. I am hiking today to honor my mom and to embody the strength and resilience that she exemplified throughout her whole life.

>For those of you who did not get the opportunity to get to know my mom, I would love to share some words about her.

My mom has always had a very peaceful, but powerful presence. She was exceptionally caring and has always been a natural listener and observer. She pursued a career as a psychotherapist and a clinical supervisor, with a particular passion for helping young people in crisis. She pursued many different roles in the mental health field while also meeting my dad and raising three children. She never stopped growing and learning. When she was in remission from her cancer, she wrote her own workbook for therapists and clients to use when starting child therapy. In her spare time she enjoyed her summer vacations in Maine, playing tennis, and taking long walks anywhere and everywhere.

I find myself following in her footsteps, being motivated to keep learning and trying things that I have never done before. My mom is the strongest person I know and fought with kindness and dignity until the end. She would take any bad news as it came and not dwell on it. She would keep moving forward and never look back. I have no other words except gratitude and love for my mom. Embarking on the PCT feels very daunting without her physically by my side, but through her strength and resilience being my example over the years, all I can be is grateful for the tools and love of life that she taught me.”

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