September 2017 Welcome! This is now an archived blog that records my 1,801-mile journey along the Pacific Crest Trail from March to August 2017.
Aspiring thru-hiker? Have questions? Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to get back to you in a timely manner.
Tread On: Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail, 2017
After a two-week break following he completion of the Southern California portion of the PCT, I left Kennedy Meadows on May 17th, bound for Chicken Spring Lake--the first true alpine lake on the Sierra PCT. I was headed to join three other thru-hikers for a six-day advanced snow skills course. Our mission: to acquire a grab bag of skills to ensure a safe and successful hike through the next 300 miles of Sierras wilderness during the highest snow year on record for California in the past several decades.
I have arrived at one of the most famous locations and milestones along the trail: Kennedy Meadows General Store. It is an unassuming little gas stop and store in the tiny ranch community of Kennedy Meadows, but for PCT hikers, it marks the end of the desert portion of the PCT and stands as the "Gateway to the Sierra”.
Mile 703 marks the turn-off point for Kennedy Meadows, but I could feel the moment I entered the Sierra...
Another quick, picture-laden post. I have received questions about how I am obtaining water. Here is a visual guide!
High amounts of rain and snow in California this year have led to an abundance of water, a recharging of the landscape, and spectacular flowers! Here they are...
A gray minivan slows and swerves over to the side of the road we're walking on. A smiley, middle-aged couple is seated in the front. The husband speaks again, "Headed to the Saufley's*? We're their neighbors. We're headed home from dinner...we can give you a ride!"
That ride saved us a huge amount of road walking after an already tiring day on trail. But it's not the focus of this post...his comment is. Since beginning at the border, I've heard it consistently in towns and as we pass by people on the trail...
I used to play guitar.
Picked one up the other day for the first time in years and couldn’t play a lick. (Not that my repertoire was ever that impressive...I seem to remember a lot of repetitions of Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water and Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4). I couldn’t remember how to read music notes either. After that depressing realization, I did recall once learning a skill all musicians eventually develop--the ability to read ahead.
During a particularly long stretch of hiking last week, I realized an analogous phenomenon was occurring-- I was subconsciously “reading” the trail a few steps ahead of me...
March 19th, 2017. 6:25 am, 200 yards north of the US/Mexico border: "Hi. Yes, Officer...we're looking for the PCT, can you point us in the direction of the starting monument?"
Bemused border patrol agent: "It's right behind you."
Oops. Navigation FAIL. Off to a solid start. Canada here we come??
It stood at the top of a hill, stark against the sunrise. The iconic silhouette couldn't possibly be real. And yet, there it was. And there we were.
Tomorrow, I will stand at a series of humble wooden posts at the border of Mexico and the United States. Over the next five months, I endeavor to walk 2,660 miles from those posts to their counterparts at the Canadian border. For fun.
Yes, you read that correctly. Keep reading...