Pedaling to the Pacific
1st of Feb 2017
By Annika Gordon
February 1, 2017
In the spring of my senior year of high school, when all of my friends were planning where to attend college, I was planning a bike tour down the Pacific Coast. I didn’t decide to do a gap year because I thought I was “too cool for school;” I had simply come to the conclusion that I was not ready. To celebrate my newfound freedom, I’d take off on my bike with a guitar strapped to my back and no goals or destination – just an open mind and a thirst for adventure. I’ve always been a wilderness fanatic. Mountains, forests, plains, lakes and streams—I love it all. The one thing I was missing in Montana was the ocean. It called to me, and I pedaled toward the Pacific with all my might.
Along the way I battled the snow-peaked giants of the great cascades, fought my way through 50 mph winds and torrential downpours on the Oregon coast, chased away feisty raccoons in California, and successfully demolished many a snickers bar and Nutella jar. I encountered wilderness at its finest; thick forests of massive redwood trees and the dramatic bluffs and mountains of the Big Sur coast—wilderness unmarred by human hands.
But it was not just the pristine wilderness that inspired me, it was also the people I met and the cities I explored. People are good and have immense love for their homes. If only our idea of home could expand to include the whole earth and not just our immediate surroundings, maybe we would finally see how beautiful and diverse our home is and the important role we play in protecting it.
I am so thankful for the time I spent at Advocates for the West as an intern. I now have a better idea of how the system works and how change can be made. It is a slow, tiresome, tedious and, mostly, rewarding process. The rad humans that work here inspire me enormously; each is proof that one person can create great change. In the coming years, we are going to need groups like Advocates for the West even more. We are so lucky to have them fighting for the West!
Annika Gordon is a 19 year old who was born and raised in Whitefish, MT. She enjoys biking and skiing and roller skating and writing music but mostly her dog Mags. Her spirit song is “Nothing Came Out” by the Moldy Peaches and her guilty pleasures are jello, grilled cheese and Justin Bieber.