After her car goes up in flames, Vika Carmichael finds herself stranded in Northern Washington at a Victorian house that hasn’t seen upkeep in longer than she’s been alive, owned by an eccentric, foul-mouthed artist whose goal of reconstructing the old house is to aid Pacific Crest Trail hikers.
The Pacific Crest Trail—or PCT—is a continuous footpath that stretches 2,660 miles from the Mexican border in Southern California to the Canadian border in Northern Washington.
In Hold for Hiker Trash, Vika, a recent college graduate, found comfort in her reputation as a “perfect student,” but her knowledge of art history is hardly applicable in the foreign culture of long distance hiking or in the reconstruction of a 140-year-old house. Vika is immersed in the company of the backpackers as they join to help Dane, the artist, and his mother, the affectionate Grandma Peach, strip the house before they can build again.
Will Vika be able to find common ground with her new hosts and the rugged hikers who visit the house, or will she be left on the outside looking in?
K.A. Hrycik grew up in a small town in Western New York, where she could be found outside in the midst of one adventure or another, like catching frogs with her sister or snowboarding with her friends. The adventures progressed, and, at 18, she got in a plane for the first time … then jumped out. That evolved into a summer in Alaska, another summer on a tall ship in the Pacific, and time abroad.
It’s hiking trails that keep calling her to come back to America though. It could be a two-mile loop in her backyard or crossing the High Sierra in California. Her brother first introduced her to the idea of long-distance backpacking when he thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. The idea turned into reality in 2012, when they hiked 1,600 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail together. In 2014, Hrycik returned to California to start the PCT at the Mexican border at dawn on a cool, May morning. Three and a half months later, in true hiker fashion, she reached the Canadian border dirty, smelly, tired, hungry, and with awe, pride, and phenomenal calves. She was hooked—to put it lightly—and including the PCT, she’s logged over 4,500 miles.
In addition to her travels, Hrycik received a degree in biology and a minor in art history from Vassar College, and enjoys including the intersection of science and art in her writing. She uses Western New York as her home base, where she tutors and teaches swimming. She sometimes even helps her brother renovate his Victorian house, after which Dane’s house in Hold For Hiker Trash is modeled—though she refuses to scrape paint.
She’s not exactly sure where she’ll be next, but she has people for “not exactly sure”, so she’s OK with that.
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