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Conquering the Trails and Embracing Adventure: The Journey of Arlette Laan, AKA "Apple Pie"


Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

In the realm of outdoor enthusiasts, few stories are as inspiring and captivating as that of Arlette Laan, better known as "Apple Pie." Hailing from the Netherlands but now calling Boston, USA, her home, Arlette has left an indelible mark on the world of hiking, becoming the first woman to conquer all 11 National Scenic Trails in the USA, covering a staggering 35,000+ miles on foot.


Discovering the Call of the Wild


Arlette's journey into the world of hiking began innocuously enough, with childhood adventures in the picturesque landscapes of Holland. But it was her move to California after college that truly ignited her passion for the great outdoors. Inspired by backpacking trips in Switzerland, Arlette found herself drawn to the rugged beauty of the American wilderness.


In 2003, she took her first steps on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), embarking on a transformative journey that would set the stage for her remarkable achievements in the years to come.


The Essence of Long-Distance Hiking


For Arlette, long-distance hiking isn't just about covering miles; it's a profound experience that nourishes the soul. It's about feeling empowered by setting and achieving audacious goals, about forging deep connections with nature and fellow hikers, and about embracing the simplicity and purity of life on the trail.


Despite the evolution of hiking culture over the years, Arlette remains true to her own pace, eschewing the ultra-light fast-packing trend in favor of a more leisurely approach that allows her to savor every moment of the journey.


Navigating the Trails


Arlette's journey on the 11 National Scenic Trails was not without its challenges. From sweltering heat and humidity to aggressive barking dogs, she faced obstacles that tested her resolve and pushed her to her limits. But through it all, she learned the importance of rest and recovery, listening to her body's needs, and finding the balance between pushing herself and knowing when to take it easy.


Fueling the Adventure


Nutrition plays a crucial role in Arlette's hiking expeditions. Whether it's cooking up hearty meals on the trail or opting for the simplicity of cold soaking, she understands the importance of fueling her body with wholesome foods that sustain her through long days of walking.


Adapting to Nature's Rhythms


One of the joys of hiking for Arlette is experiencing the changing seasons firsthand. From the tranquility of winter hikes to the vibrant colors of autumn, she embraces the beauty of nature in all its forms. And with each new season comes new challenges, from navigating icy trails to protecting her feet from blisters and abrasions.


Balancing Life and Hiking


Despite her love for the trail, Arlette understands the importance of striking a balance between her outdoor pursuits and everyday life. As a hiking guide, she helps others discover the joys of hiking while also finding ways to incorporate her passion into her own daily routine.


Achieving Milestones


Completing the 11 National Scenic Trails was a monumental achievement for Arlette, but it's only the beginning of her hiking journey. With plans to return to trails for thru-hikes and explore new challenges like redlining in the White Mountains, her thirst for adventure shows no signs of abating.


Connecting with Arlette


For those inspired by Arlette's story, connecting with her on social media is just a click away. Follow her adventures with the hashtag #ApplePieHikes and check out her sock dolls, available exclusively in the US. And for those seeking guidance on their own hiking journeys, Arlette's affiliation with Redline Guiding offers a wealth of resources and expertise.


Closing Thoughts


As we reflect on Arlette's incredible journey, we're reminded of the transformative power of the great outdoors. Through perseverance, passion, and a deep connection to nature, she has achieved what many only dream of, proving that with determination and a love for adventure, anything is possible.


Arlette Laan, aka "Apple Pie," is not just a hiker; she's a trailblazer, an inspiration, and a testament to the boundless spirit of human exploration. And as she continues to seek out new challenges and embrace the wonders of the natural world, we can't help but be inspired to do the same.


So here's to Arlette, to her past accomplishments and future adventures, and to all the hikers out there who dare to dream and follow their hearts wherever the trail may lead.


Listen to Arlette share her story on the Tough Girl Podcast HERE

 

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