Sophia Tang certainly got more than she bargained for, hiking the entire Colorado Trail without replenishing food along the way. Her decision to do so was phenomenal, especially with the timing, as she became the first woman on record to do so in this manner. In the process, she discovered another layer to herself.
“I believe the purpose of life is to live – I mean to live fully in each moment, not merely drift from day to day in half measures. So it was only natural when I learned of the Colorado Trail’s existence in January, an old, tired flame forgotten somewhere deep inside the shell of a person I had become flared up and burned so hot it melted away years of indifference to reveal an insatiable childlike curiosity and wonder,” Sophia wrote on her website.
The Colorado Trail is one of the most challenging high-country trails in the US. It passes through six national forests, six wilderness areas, five major river systems, and eight mountain ranges with almost 90,000 vertical feet of elevation gain.
The journey started on August 2nd, 2020 from Denver. Her adventure was particularly daring and interesting as it was her first time backpacking and she only carried nine days’ worth of food. She had planned to hike 54 miles a day to reach Durango before running out.
As Sophia realized she wasn’t going to make it in time and her food supply rapidly diminished, she had to significantly reduce her food intake. Despite this challenge, she continued to trek an average of 20 plus miles daily over mountainous terrain. This left her with as much as a 5000-calorie deficit each day. Her extreme rationing had caused her to shed 26 pounds in body weight by the time she finally emerged at the terminus in Durango after 21 days, 12 hours, and 52 minutes.
She only had half a pecan and a few ounces of coconut oil left.
Many have found her unwavering determination and sheer grit inspiring. A few weeks later, she is already planning her next adventure.