What Takes 5 Years To Go 1100 Miles & 4 Months To Go 1500? How We Plan to Finish the PCT This Year

When we started hiking small sections of the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Trail back in 2012, we told people we were on the 10-year plan. We figured the most we could ever get done any given year would be only 150 miles on average. So, we weren’t really sure when we might actually get to the northern terminus at the Canadian Border.

Mt. Shasta at sunset

Mt. Shasta from the south on Castella to Chester hike, summer 2017.

One of the frustrations of being section hikers is the length of time we spend planning each segment. It’s not always cool to leave your car someplace for two weeks. So, we work hard to find good on and off access points to the trail. We also are captive to the clock, needing always to get back to our jobs. This, of course, plays a huge part in how many days we can stay on trail each outing. And all of this limits the number of miles we get in each year. Once we do get back on trail, we need three or four days to get into our groove, adjust to the altitude, etc. And by the time we start to really feel like we have finally connected with the trail, it’s time to chase off back to the “real world” – a reality, as I’ve written in the past, that is real only if we make it so.

Deer in meadow

Found this deer grazing in a meadow on our Castella to Chester hike last summer, 2017.

We are excited to announce…

…our decision to get back on trail in June. This time, instead of our usual two-weeks, we’ll be taking an extended leave to hike the remaining 1550 miles of the trail, taking us likely into October. We’ll soon start to share posts on our planning, preparation and schedule. We plan to keep up the blog during the hike, posting directly from the trail when possible.

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We are also very excited to introduce Sweet Dreams Outdoors. We’ve partnered with Sweet Dreams to bring you reviews of new products and provide discounts on select gear  offered exclusively to our readers. Stay tuned for more details. Patti and I are both very excited to be part of the Sweet Dreams Outdoors team. Most of what they offer is recommended by staff members. The site features a lot of innovative products and the prices are really fair. It will be a blast to test and review new items as they become available.

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Alexa’s Hike

This is Alexa’s first post from the trail.

https://thetrek.co/week-one-with-team-foot-stuff/

Week one with Team Foot Stuff

We’re five days into our six month trek, and we’re loving every minute of it.

Okay, maybe not the extreme hiker pains, and the occasional steep up or down hill, but the bad moments on the trail make the good ones that much better.

On day one we ended up connecting with a group of hikers at Lake Morena, mile 20. There were about thirty hikers at the camp ground that night but a group of nine of us seemed to have an immediate connection. Brooke and Don we had hiked with from mile one starting that day, and with their energy we found it easy to get all the way to Lake Morena. The remaining six had started about an hour after us, and we met them as we shared beers and goodies from a trail angel, Rod, who was staying for a week at Lake Morena to give back to the hiker community.

The first week has been a good array of emotions- lots of pain in various areas of our body, tons of laughs amongst our group self named “Team Foot Stuff”, and incredible views and scenery along the entire way. It’s hard not to enjoy every moment of the trail, it’s already chalking up to be an incredible experience.

We’re resting at mile 77 today in Julian. We’ll try to reach Warner Springs by Monday and take a nero. Until then, happy trails!

 

Alexa & Cooper’s Thru-Hike

Alexa & Cooper’s Thru-Hike

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My Summer Job

When our adult daughter told us months ago she and her boyfriend were going to thru-hike the PCT, I don’t think there could have been anyone more excited. A question she was often asked was, “What do your parents think?” “They’re joining me!”  We hope to hike with them in June for two weeks in the Sierras, as long as the unusually high snow pack doesn’t alter our plans.

As much as we wanted to, we restrained ourselves from giving unsolicited advice, most of the time that it is. We wanted her to have her own experience in preparing for the trail. We certainly will be living vicariously, if not with some jealousy, the trail life through her. When she asked if I would do her resupply, there was absolutely no hesitation in saying a resounding “Yes!” I actually felt honored to be a part, any part, of her experience.

A friend recently commented in an email, “…how cool is it when our kids take up a passion that is already dear to our own hearts, thus confirming that 1) the apple doesn’t fall from the tree and 2) maybe we didn’t do such a bad job after all.”  Indeed, maybe we didn’t do such a bad job.

Alexa and Cooper volunteered at the Earth Fair on Sunday afternoon. Since we were already half way to Campo, we fed them a “last supper” and dropped off a giddy Alexa and Cooper at the Southern Terminus that night. Their plan was to camp overnight and start early the next morning. At no time did I have any fears of her adventure. But suddenly, out of nowhere, on the drive home, I felt fear. What if she gets robbed? What if, more likely, she gets attacked by a pack of wolves? Where did those thoughts come from? Maybe I hadn’t done my due diligence as a mom to worry. Fortunately those thoughts were short lived. I have read the predictions that because of the unusally high snow pack, more are expected to drop out this year in the walk to Canada.  There is no shame in that if that happens to anyone.  She is a strong, goal driven, independent young woman and can handle herself well. But either way, we are immensely proud of her.

We will repost her post. She was accepted as a guest blogger on TheTrek. You can follow her along as well here:

https://thetrek.co/author/alexa-shapiro/