Thru-Hiking and Biking, From LA to WA

(Photo courtesy of Julie Hotz)

Meet Julie Hotz.

(Photo courtesy of Julie Hotz)

This summer she’ll be thru-hiking the 1,200-mile Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, which runs from Glacier National Park, Montana, to Cape Alva, on Washington’s Olympic Coast. To get to the trailhead in Glacier, she walked out her front door in Los Angeles, climbed aboard her bike, and began pedaling.

Recently, she sent in this dispatch from the road about her work with the Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation’s roadkill project.

By Julie Hotz

The only tool I need is my smartphone, but part of the task includes photographing all the roadkill I come across. I’m not the sort that gets squeamish—you can talk about splintered bones at the dinner table or ask me to watch an open heart surgery and I won’t flinch.

So, my head handles the process of documenting roadkill well, but I didn’t realize how my heart would be affected by doing more than just passing by and shaking my head mournfully. The act of stopping, getting off my bike, observing and photographing all adds up to some sort of intimate interaction with the deceased.

(Photo by Julie Hotz)
Owl hit by a vehicle on on the side of 1-40 (Photo by Julie Hotz)

I find myself saying, “Oh little buddy, I’m so sorry.” Or in the case of this owl, I just stood and admired its beauty even though there was no life left.

Though my sympathy pours out like a puddle onto the roadside next to these animals, I also find that it adds more gravity to the need to understand how we all affect wildlife via our speeding cars and trucks. Just today, I spoke to a highway patrol officer who had to put a freshly hit deer out of its misery. He said it happens all the —> Read More