In November 2014, Anna Herby and Ross Scherer passed through Idyllwild, California on their way to finishing the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail at the Mexican border. Unlike 90 percent of PCT “through-hikers” they started the 2,650-mile-long route from the north. Along the way, the pair of best friends blogged about their experiences on Anna’s web site, called NourishingJourneyPCT.com .
I met Ross (whose PCT nickname is “Mud”) and Anna (known as “Bug”) while they were eating dinner in Idyllwild, a mountain village above Palm Springs. Soon afterward, I interviewed this quiet, friendly couple for one of my stories on the PCT, “Mission Accomplished.”
Both Anna and Ross are degreed nutritionists who focus their diet on plant-based eating. They are passionate about spreading knowledge to people who need to improve their health. Anna holds a Master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University in Washington State. She expects to be a Registered Dietician later this year. Ross is in a Master’s program. His undergraduate degree is in nutrition and exercise science.
Within the months after my interview with them, I reflected on Mud and Bug’s success along that long, arduous journey, without eating animal products. Like many people, I was a concerned about protein sources and vitamin B-12 on such a diet. These two highly qualified people appeared in great shape and completed a hike that most of us would never want to do, or be able to do. I consider them credible sources of both scientific and anecdotal evidence about plant-based eating. So, I invited Anna to share her blog through my web site. We are excited about this partnership.
I want to add one caveat that nothing in this magazine is designed as medical advice and every person’s body is unique, with different requirements. B-12 is a critically important necessity and each person’s absorption rate is individual.
Anna’s blog has a wealth of beautiful photos and journalism about what most hikers agree is a life-changing journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition, she and Ross support projects that help people around the world gain access to nutrition information and healthy food. They care about ethical eating choices, animal welfare and the environment.
I was surprised to find another reason to reconnect with these two people. When I read Anna’s post about hiking down into Idyllwild last year, I learned that the place holds special memories for her. She worked at Idyllwild Arts Academy as a camp counselor in the summers of 2008 and 2009.
“It was a great place!” she told me by email.
For all these reasons, I am excited to introduce or re-introduce Anna and Ross to my readers. Some of you who are PCT hikers will already know them, of course. (“Mud” and “Bug” become well-known in the PCT community along their journey.)
I suggest you start by reading her account of arriving in Idyllwild. Then enjoy her general posts about the joys of eating, discussions on health issues and reflections on the trials and joys of hiking the PCT.