JEDDAH: Adventurers Haya Al-Samari and Fai Al-Omran, citizens of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait respectively, recently achieved a long-cherished dream by completing the Pacific Crest Trail — covering a distance of around 4,270 km in 180 days.
At the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail, they were congratulated by a small crowd of friends and hiking enthusiasts.
The two women began their long walk on April 1 from the US-Mexico border passing through California, Oregon, and Washington before reaching the Canada-US border on Aug. 19.
For the two amateur hikers, who have lived an outdoor life skiing, hiking and mountain biking, finishing the trail that included six mountain passes, each over 3,300 meters, was a lifelong goal.
Hiking the trail may seem impossible to many, but Al-Samari, 33, and Al-Omran, 28, were fueled by dreams of adventure.
Speaking to Arab News shortly after completing the trail at the Canada-US border, the pair said they felt proud and that it was a rewarding experience.
“A real mixed bag of emotions. I’m still trying to process what we went through. There’s obviously a huge sense of relief, anticipation to reunite with family and friends, and a renewed sense of appreciation for luxuries I used to take for granted such as clean water and a mattress,” said Al-Samari.
Al-Omran added: “I feel content, very proud and happy of this achievement. I am glad we made this dream come true and reached our goal. It was a long and hard journey that took a lot of determination and willpower.”
When asked what they wanted to do after getting home, they said meeting family and friends, and eating all kinds of food.
Describing the adventure, Al-Samari said: “The highs were high and the lows were low, both literally and metaphorically speaking. The main turning point for me personally is when I changed my mentality from trying to maximize my daily mileage to simply enjoying each day as it comes. Also, the trails in Washington were out of this world … from hiking between clouds to swimming in every lake.”
Al-Omran said: “It’s hard to pick the best moments, every section had amazing days. Overall, the trip itself was a great adventure. If I had to pick one thing, I’d say the people. Whether they were fellow hikers, or locals in towns, or the people who help you along the way.”
“A hike like this gives you lots of time to think and plan what you want to do next. Now that we’re going home it’s time to take these thoughts and ideas and turn them into reality,” she added.
Al-Samari plans to settle down and begin making plans for the future, but “resting is my main concern for now and not sure what I am going to do next.”
They had documented their trip on social media platforms, much to the delight of their followers.
Under the Abaya, the Saudi Arabia female empowerment platform, sponsored the two adventurers.
Commenting on this support, Al-Omran said: “The experience is something like we’ve never done before. I am honored to be supported by a brand that stands for women empowerment and pushed boundaries.”
Al-Samari quipped: “I’ve been dreaming of doing it for 10 years. It was the perfect time to go on this wild adventure. I’m very grateful to be working with UTA and together paving the way too (for) many Saudi women to chase their dreams.”