Ljubica Maric is 34-years-old and the first woman from Croatia, born in the Brcko District, to cross the 4200-kilometer Pacific Crest Trail, along the USA, from the border with Mexico to the border with Canada.
She set off in early April with a group of about thirty people from around the world, and the adventure lasted for six months.
Ljubica Maric is a bachelor of economics, born in Brcko, and permanently inhabited in Zagreb. Guaranteed job and home were not enough to keep a young adventurer woman who walked the 4.300-kilometer trail.
“Basically, I was spending a lot of time in the office, many hours, sometimes even until midnight. Then I thought over and realized that I didn’t want that kind of life, just to sit and not to travel anywhere. I love nature life and hiking. I heard about this trail five years ago when I was reading the book ‘’Wild’’ by Cheryl Street, and since then I’ve been thinking that I’d like to do something like that. Five years later, when I got enough free time and money, my wish came true.”
It took her six months and six days to finish this trip. But, above all, she had to get excellent physical and psychological preparation, because during this period, Ljubica faced extremely high desert temperatures, but also low mountain colds.
“There is a desert section of about 700 miles that we have to cross. We find snakes, lizards, but the biggest problem is that there is no enough water. Sometimes we walk 30 or 40 kilometers with only a few liters of water, which we use sparingly, because it is not known when we will find the next fresh and accessible water supply. After the desert section, we reach the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range with the highest peaks covered with snow. We walked there in the snow for almost two months. We had other challenges, like crossing the rivers and streams. After the Sierra Nevada, we come to the Northern California, then Oregon and the last part of trail is Washington.”
Ljubica says that they sometimes crossed the timbers that were torn down, connecting one side of the river or stream to the other. That was the scariest part for her. The timbers are slippery and if you fall into the water, adds Ljubica, the torrent takes you away and you have no chance to save yourself.
“Two girls passed away in this way a few years ago. I already knew it and was really scared. My knees were shaking and it would take me a long time to encourage myself and move, because it is difficult to maintain balance in such a narrow tree with the weight of 15 pounds on the back,” Ljubica points out.