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Emily on the Trail


I am Emily Mitchell, a Senior Metallurgical Engineer at Spectrum Forensics, and an avid outdoor explorer. In 2020, between graduating from the Colorado School of Mines and starting my career at Spectrum, I embarked on a 500-mile journey along the Colorado Trail (CT). Amidst the miles upon miles of breathtaking Colorado wilderness, I discovered a profound sense of clarity, and fell in love with the simple freedom of thru-hiking. Like all thru-hikers before me, I was bestowed a trail name, Cleopatra, the alter ego I am about to step back into once again this summer.

Spectrum has graciously offered me a 6 month sabbatical this summer to make the 2,650 mile trek from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail. This will be the most substantial trek that I have embarked upon, though I feel well prepared from years of experience backpacking Colorado and Utah, as well as internationally in Nepal, Iceland, and Norway. To prepare for this journey I also acquired my Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification in December 2023.

Through this blog, my expedition represents not only a personal challenge but also an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for two meaningful causes for those of us at Spectrum. One of the inspirations for this trek has been my dog Ishtar, whose absolute favorite thing is her daily hike and sniff adventure in our hometown wilderness near Monument, Colorado. She is the reason I get out on the trail every day, rain or shine. So, for Ishtar, and all the animal lovers at Spectrum, we will be donating half of the funds raised to the Max Fund Animal Shelter in Denver, Colorado. The other half of funds raised will be donated to the SMILE (Science & Math Interactive Learning Experience) Camp, to honor the memory of Laura Blau, the intern and mentee we lost in 2023 and who is still missed dearly. We hope that by supporting early STEM education opportunities such as SMILE Camp, more young women like Laura will find and pursue their passion for engineering, math, and science.

Spectrum will support this fundraising effort by matching donations we receive from now to October 1 through the Go Fund Me/Website. This webpage will have a map of the PCT and will be regularly updated to show the miles I’ve completed, along with weekly photos and updates from my journey. I hope you enjoy following along!


Emily Mitchell

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Emily's Progress

Miles hiked as of 7/2/24:

905 miles completed of 2,650 miles

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Updates from the Trail