DustBuster Thru-hikes the AT One Year after Finishing the PCT

Two major trails in two years. Lauren “DustBuster” DeLand finished the Appalachian Trail on August 5, just four months and five days after she started. She hiked the Pacific Crest Trail last year with her husband, Travis, and the trip was so rewarding that she just needed to do another one. Hikers can’t choose their trail names, they have to be earned on the trail. In a short span of time, in very dry terrain in California, Lauren tripped and flopped onto the trail in a cloud of dust. More than once. And the hikers that witnessed it dubbed her “DustBuster.”

When asked about the differences between these two legendary trails, she says, “The two trails are vastly different. From the terrain and weather, to the people and culture, if there is a way to be different, then the trails usually are. There’s a handful of similarities, but to distill it down, the Appalachian Trail was akin to a walk in the countryside whereas the Pacific Crest Trail was a hike in the wilderness.” Regarding the most common mistakes she witnessed on the trail, Lauren says, “There is a popular misconception that one cannot eat healthy and lightweight meals and still carry enough calories. Sugary foods appear lightweight but end up being very inefficient fuel in the long run. Hikers need to be more worried about packing nutrient dense food versus total calories especially when hiking 20-plus miles a day.”

Without a doubt, Lauren Hayward DeLand and Travis Nichols have more ambitious hikes in mind. Lauren expressed interest in the Continental Divide Trail, but it probably won’t happen in 2018. Maybe 2019. //

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