Junior plans trip to hike alone for six weeks

Ellen Poulter looks forward to new experience in France and Spain


Emily Ziessman

Junior Ellen Poulter shops for supplies at REI for her upcoming hiking trip May 21. Poulter will be hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain by herself this summer over the course of six weeks.

Ethan Meisler

With the upcoming six week hiking trip by herself on the Camino de Santiago trail through France and Spain, junior Ellen Poulter said she looks forward to growing and immersing herself in the outdoors.

“A goal for me is to grow as a person while I’m there because a lot of times when you’re on trail, manifesting takes place,” Poulter said. “You’re just alone with your thoughts for a long period of time and I think a lot of growth can happen in solitude.”

According to Poulter, her previous hikes have been with many others, and this new sense of isolation excites her.

“In the past, my experience on trail has been in big groups, so I think it’ll be really different to be all alone. I have never experienced that much solitude, so I think that it will be a really interesting experience, but I also think it will be really enjoyable,” Poulter said.

Sophomore Maya Lee, a close friend of Poulter, believes that she will benefit greatly on her upcoming trip due to her previous knowledge, and looks forward to seeing her friend grow.

“I think she will do really well,” Lee said. “She’s very experienced with the outdoors and camping. It’ll be a really amazing experience for her, and I’m really excited for her to be able to go on it.”

Poulter said her aunt has encouraged her to do the hike because of her own positive experience on the trail.

“I’ve wanted to do this trip since I was 11 or 12. My aunt did it when my uncle died, and it was really transformational for her, she’s always been trying to convince me to do it,” Poulter said.

Because Poulter is not hiking to mourn anyone, she said she has decided to dedicate days of the trip to people who hold special meaning in her life, thinking about their impact and her gratitude towards them.

“I have plans to dedicate one day of my trip to different people that are important to me,” Poulter said. “Because I don’t have anyone who’s dead that I’m doing it for, instead I’m going to do it for people who are still alive.”

According to Poulter, she will be able to contact friends and family with her phone when she has service, as well as from her spot device when she has satellite connection, which will be most places she plans to hike.

“I’ll have my phone, and I also have a spot device, which will be my main way of contacting people,” Poulter said. “It’s basically this little satellite and you can send 200-word messages on it whenever you have satellite connectivity.”

Lee said while she will miss her friend when she’s away, Poulter will do great on her own while hiking.

“I’ll miss her a lot, not being able to talk to her, but that’s life. I think it’ll all be okay, she knows a lot of survival skills,” Lee said.