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Zelzin Aketzalli - First Mexican person to have completed the triple crown of hiking in America.

Charlotte Fowles - The Executive Adventurer, solo hiking whilst on chemotherapy & crossing the Australian outback in a 4x4 truck!

Zelzin was born in Mexico city in the Iztapalapa neighborhood in Nov 1993. Since she was a girl, she was passionate about outdoor sports such as rowing, running, mountain biking, a sport in which she excelled in National and International competitions and forged her determination and love for the mountains. Zelzin graduated in Communications and Electronics Engineering from the Instituto Politecnico Nacional.

In 2017 she traveled to the USA for the first time alone, without speaking the language to hike the second longest trail in the US the PCT. On April 4 she started the adventure and despite her little knowledge of hiking, being new to the high mountains, and dealing with snow. Zelzin completed her first thru hike in 153 days, covering a distance of 4,277 km. In 2018, Zelzin thru-hiked from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail in 100 days. In 2019, she completed the Continental Divide Trail in 145 days. Zelzin was the first Mexican person to have thru-hiked the three longest trails in the US.

Zelzin goals is to promote thru- hiking in Mexico and her dream is to create the first long-distance trail in Baja, California.

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Show notes

  • Growing up in Mexico City

  • What the triple crown in hiking is

  • Her childhood

  • Being the oldest of two brothers

  • Growing up in a dangerous neighbourhood

  • Starting working at 11 years old

  • Hearing about the PCT for the first time

  • Studying engineering at university

  • How her family reacted to her wanting to go to America and hike

  • Being worried about the snow and black bears

  • Not speaking English

  • Her worries before the hike

  • Getting a visa for America

  • Research and planning for the trail

  • Not being able to find information in Spanish

  • The support of Facebook Groups

  • Going to the mountains in Mexico

  • Learning about the gear and the animals

  • Trail name?

  • What it was like doing her first thru hike

  • The challenging and difficult sections on the PCT

  • Dealing with a lot of snow

  • Facing river crossings

  • Making a few mistakes on the trail

  • Lessons learned from those mistakes

  • Finding someone to walk in the mountains with

  • Having good luck and trying to catch up with other hikers

  • Dealing with the cold

  • Keeping her clothing simple

  • Food on the trail

  • Eating “trash food”

  • Her love of cheese!

  • Hiking the Appalachian Trail 2nd

  • Leaving the Continental Divide Trail to the last

  • The challenges on the CDT

  • What happens when times get tough

  • Has she ever wanted to quit?

  • Learning from her mistakes

  • Feeling passionate about hiking

  • Her favourite hiking trail is the Hayduke Trail

  • Paying for her hikes

  • Struggling to find sponsorship in Mexico

  • Her dream of starting a new thru-hiking trail in Mexico

  • Figuring out the new trail and having support with water and food

  • The goals of the project

  • Finals words of advice for other women who want to get into hiking

  • “Don’t be afraid and live your dreams”


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