About the Author, Kristin Forster: “I’m Kristin and live up north in Hamburg, Germany as a flatlander. Working as a pastry chef, hiking with my dad. Loving sweets, well, food in general…whatever it is…mountains and spending time with my family. And all those things I combine in hiking. Eating, walking, spending time with family, and soon hopefully tramily. Getting ready to hike the Appalachian Trail. Of course, not without my dad.” You can find her on Instagram @kleinerartist.
My Dad would tell you a different story. How we came up hiking the Trail and how it all happened.

But here is the truth. I did see me standing at the airport of San Diego. Getting picked up by Scout and Frodo, two trail angels on the PCT. I Imagined myself smiling at the southern point of the PCT to a stranger who is holding my camera.

I Imagined that for almost one year straight. Just me and my backpack.

On the King’s Trail in Sweden

In 2016 I went to a horrible break up. My parents saved me from getting crazy at home, bought me a flight ticket. I needed to get away from Hamburg and into one of my comfort zones, California. I visited friends and the host family I was working for a few years back. I also took a trip to Yosemite National Park. And there it happened. I got hooked. Started to hike up JMT early in the morning, up the waterfalls, experiencing a whole new level of relaxation through hiking. Met incredible people who inspired me even more. Went to another trail near the PCT, hiking up and down the mountain to Gaylor Lake. It was magical.

On the JMT in Yosemite National Park, California

Coming back home, I only had the trail in mind. Did an immense amount of research and read all about it. I wanted to finish my pastry school. Work for a year, save up the money I need and get out there.

Well, it all changed. And now I am happy about it.

One day in spring 2017 my dad came up to me, asking if I would like to go hike with him. Well, sure. We did then hike in Switzerland for a week, visiting a friend. Awesome scenery. Just beautiful mountains and good food.

I was kinda having the feeling that my dad was up to something. But I didn’t really know. Then he asked me:

If he could come with me, he would like to join in. But not the PCT. And if I really want to hike the PCT, why couldn’t I hike the AT with him first. It was a dream of his for a long time. (I never heard of that dream, neither did I know my dad was such into hiking, all he did was flyfishing).
I was confused, mad, angry and worried at the same time. I didn’t want to disappoint my dad in saying no. But I also planned to do this: smiling at the southern point of the PCT to a stranger who is holding my camera. Alone. So, it took me a while to think about it. Until someone decided for me.
Four guys broke into my workplace. Thinking of it, still makes me tear up. It was 3:45 in the morning when I got to work, opened the door and faced four burglars heading out the door on the other side of the room. I stumbled back out and called the police. Never thought I would get that anxious. I did martial arts for a while, but this encounter swiped me of my feet.
I know everything happens for a reason. And even though I wished that I’ve never encountered those burglars, I am happy that I decided to hike with my dad. And that it’s going to be the Appalachian Trail. It might’ve started with the secure feeling of not being alone, but it all changed and ended in excitement and a new and different perspective of hiking together. We are 27 and 56 years old. We must enjoy the time we have left with family, we must appreciate the moments, we must be kind but truthful, but we can also stand up for ourselves, our opinions, our thoughts. It will be a whole new experience.

For the both of us.

With that said, I did hike one more time with my dad. 2018 we hiked in Sweden, 8 days of wilderness. The Kings Trail. And I did have the chance to bail out of it. Change my mind again, tell him that I do rather go alone. I might have thought of it for a second, sometimes in the freezing morning. But not a second thought of not going with my dad.