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Category : Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2,668 mile (4,294 km) trail running through the tallest mountain crests and volcanic peaks of California, Oregon, and Washington from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. I walked its entire length in 2013 and was back on trail for more casual fun in 2014 and 2015. In my opinion, it is a 16″ by 2,668 mile slice of heaven.

Leave No Trace in Advertising

I’ve been shopping for new gear for 2016 and something is bugging me… So here’s my call out to manufacturers and users of tents and sleeping bags and camp stoves and other camping gear. All outdoor folk who love nature. (Hopefully that includes you.) Stop advertising gear with images that clearly violate the Leave No Trace ethic. Stop glamorizing these violations. Instead, set great examples of people camping using LNT principles. Dude. What are you talking about?! More specifically, I’m talking about images of camps set up right on the sides of lakes. They’re so pretty, but they’re so… wrong. Please stop posting photographs of tents pitched less than 200 feet from idyllic lakes. Less than 100 feet from lakes…. continue reading

A Walk from Onion Valley to Road’s End

In the middle of October, after having finished an amazing L2H hike with two great guys (Bulldozer and Abram), I was looking at wrapping up my season and heading back to Portland to spend the holidays with my mother. But it was driving me crazy that I hadn’t finished my Sierra High Route hike. I walked around Mt. Williamson, summiting two 14ers to compensate, and I made some excuses, but still it was driving me crazy when I wasn’t trying to put it out of my mind. I’m not sure I’d feel right if I didn’t complete the SHR in one season as I intended. LoveNote showed up in Lone Pine and planted the seed again, a few days later…. continue reading

Sierra High Route Part 5: Tuolumne Meadows to Twin Lakes

This 23-mile stretch of the Sierra High Route took me almost three days. I left Tuolumne Meadows Saturday June 13th at 7am and came out at Twin Lakes on Monday the 15th at 4:30pm. Granted, I’m usually able to hike 23 miles in one day, that’s when there’s a trail and I don’t have three unusually steep mountain passes to get over. Over three days I had my ass handed to me by this route and once finished, tentatively decided to not continue hiking it. Day 1: Tuolumne Meadows to Cascade Lake June 13th. I was originally set to leave on June 5, and was posted up in Tuolumne acclimating to the elevation, but rain came in and wasn’t letting… continue reading

How to Do Trail Magic Right

This is a post about trail angeling and trail magic on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and why perhaps it has become detrimental to the trail and trail culture.* Between 2013 and 2015, whether because of the “Wild” movie effect or due to an influx of Appalachian Trail (AT) hikers wanting more trail time or even triple crowns, the population of thru-hikers on the PCT doubled. The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), a governing body of sorts in charge of maintaining access to the trail, again issued permits arbitrarily and for free — several thousand of them. Between April 6 and May 1 this year, I camped out at mile 42 of the trail, doing backpack shake-outs at Mt. Laguna… continue reading

Hitching Sign

860 Miles by Thumb

I just got into Portland, Oregon after hitching from Lone Pine, California to Cascade Locks for the 9th annual PCT Days. Most of the ride was much less eventful than anticipated, and took me much less time than I budgeted for. It took 16 hours in 6 strangers’ cars, with an overnight in Bend at a friend’s house. And then I was there at Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks having a great time with fellow hikers. More on the wacky part of the hitch hike soon.

Prayer Flags at Muir Hut

Muir Pass hut, view of smoke from the Rough fire Wednesday night. Pray even harder for rain! Everything south of Muir Pass on the JMT/Pacific Crest Trail is pretty bad smoke-wise for hikers, with many of them abandoning their hikes. I stayed up there, looking at it this way: most inner city children have worse air quality 365 days a year with not nearly as beautiful or safe a scenery. Who would I be to complain? I had a lovely time, and for the first time in a while actually resented returning to town. Would have stayed an extra day but didn’t want anyone to worry. Aside: The Muir shelter was paid for by a forestry magnate, which is humorous… continue reading

That Asshole

Throwback to 2 years ago on the PCT. Hiker “That Asshole” unwittingly walks away from one of the biggest trail dramas of the year – the owner of the Red Moose in Sierra City accusing him of stiffing them on his pancake breakfast. Cool guy, funny and a gentleman; unfortunate situation. Anyway, don’t steal on the Pacific Crest Trail – even people just _suspected_ of stealing are ostracized and treated very poorly all the way up trail like That Asshole was. That’s probably why theft almost never happens. But it happened this week to a friend on trail and it’s a crappy reminder that it’s not all unicorns and rainbows out there.

Ziggy and The Bear

And off I go, leaving my adopted grandparents and the sweetest Pacific Crest Trail trail angels ever behind for the year. Ziggy and The Bear! They took incredible care of me and about 1500 PCT 2015 hikers this year. I’ll miss them so much. And it’s possible that due to the Lake Fire, many more future hikers will miss them, too. Look at a map, think about it. You can retrospectively support these guys by paypal’ing funds to whitewatertrailhouse@gmail.com. They’ve done tons for PCT hikers over the past 15 years and deserve big thanks (and help paying for those porta-potties!) Also, if you haven’t picked up your box there, get in touch. One of them smells really bad. 😜

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Throwback to two years ago today along the Pacific Crest Trail – at Kennedy Meadows North, a pack station and resort near Sonora Pass. Someone was surprised when I told him how many cowboys are in California and Oregon: a lot. It’s true. There are a lot. And bears.

Little Package