Completing the Ridge Trail on a Whim

Apr 24th, 2020
Britney hiking

Britny Sorenson, a sunny and energetic force of nature, set out to thru-hike the Florida Trail in December of 2019. About a week in, bad weather struck and she had to abandon her trek. She left the storms of Florida and on a whim booked a greyhound bus for the more temperate climes of San Francisco. During the long bus ride, Britny pondered how to spend the rest of her thwarted winter break. Her research brought her to the Bay Area Ridge Trail. It seemed the perfect fit. Next stop… Circumnavigating the Ridge Trail.

Thru-hiking the Ridge Trail on a whim sounds ambitious, but Britny, an Arizona state student and Utah native, is no stranger to long trail adventures. Her list of trail accomplishments include completing the Appalachian and Hayduke Trails, as well as exploring large sections of the Colorado Trail and Arizona Trail. 

The Ridge Trail presents some unique challenges. Although 380 miles are open—with continuous stretches as long as 80 miles—there is still work to be done to connect the entire route. Many trail gaps exist. Britny overcame trail gap obstacles by combining backpacking with using rideshare apps or buses. She “Uber-packed” from Vallejo south to San José and back up to Marin. “Once I reached White Hill Open Space Preserve in Marin I stopped backpacking and section-hiked the remaining parts of the trail.”

Thankfully there were lots of resources for Britny to keep herself on track to complete the trail. “I relied heavily on the Outerspatial app.  Sometimes it was easy to lose the trail, so having the app was extremely useful.  I also used the Ridge Trail’s camping guide and maps found on the website’s Circumnavigation Page.

With resources and her strong spirit in hand, Britny was able to complete the trail and get back to school on time before the start of the next semester. Finishing the Ridge Trail was challenging, but also provided an unexpected amount of beauty given its proximity to city life. “I have completed a decent amount of other thru-hikes and this one has a lot more scenic sections than a lot of the other trails that I have completed that have a larger name.”

If you are interested in thru-hiking the Ridge Trail, or have already completed it, share your story!


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