If you are hiking high up on a mountain trail, walking at a pace neither too slow nor too fast, and you can hear the breeze whistling through the leaves and needles of the tallest Sequioa trees, whilst you inhale the sweet fragrance of an unknown wildflower, then you might come upon a junction in the trail where the Past and Present meld into one. You do not need to choose either trail. You simply need to continue hiking and embrace what’s to come.
Crossing the 1000 mile barrier brought a huge sense of accomplishment. However, as glorious as a feat as it was by itself I did not expect it to be bolstered and accompanied by the gift of revisiting my past memories from previous trips along this lonely yet beautiful stretch.
Photo: Airplane Mode wearing Microspikes that provide better traction in the snow.
Photo: when Happy Feet met Happy Feet. A rare chance meeting of two thru-hikers with the same trail name. (Fyi- Giggles is the most popular name on the trail this year.)
Along the John Muir Trail (JMT) stretch through Inyo, Sequioa, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Park I was revisited by the memories of my early backpacking trips with my dad. Throughout my childhood my dad would take me on weeklong trips all throughout this area developing my appreciation for nature. I remembered campsites where bears threatened to steal our tree-hung food. I remembered when I layed awake in my sleeping bag watching the Perseid meteor showers against the Milky Way and saw hundreds of shooting stars in one summer night. I remembered the time I led a failed climb up Mt. Davis (next to Thousand Island Lakes) but came back the following summer to successfully climb it.
Photo: enjoying a glimpse of the amazing Tuolumne River.
Later in my life after a long hiatus away from nature I returned to this area with my wife, Meg. Over the past two years Meg and I completed 210 mile John Muir Trail and the 165 mile Tahoe Rim Trail. Both trails are part of the PCT and as I crossed through this familiar terrain I remembered overlooks where we stopped together to gaze in awe, and lunch spots we cherished that we did not want to ever leave. I remembered the several charges we made together pulling every ounce of energy out of our bodies to reach a far flung campsite, resupply or end of the trail. I remembered us beginning to brush upon the idea of hiking the PCT while on these trips.
Photo: cutting snow steps into the side of a snow bank to climb out of a precarious situation.
Photo: meeting James at a watering hole in the snow. Its been funny running into James every few weeks since he does very long food carries without resupply and we do short carries with resupply.
My memories from the Past are accompanying me on my current PCT endeavor. They add welcomed depth to my journey and remind me of just how lucky I’ve been to be exposed to such a magical wonderful place as a kid and to continue to enjoy it with my wife. Hiking the PCT today solidifies my bond and commitment to nature into the future and beyond.
Photo: Happy Feet walking down an icy snowfield.
Photo: it felt like Spring all over again south of Tahoe.
Next up, I begin the long, hot, dry 600 mile segment from Lake Tahoe to the Oregon border. Although, I’ve hiked over two and a half months, and over 1,000 miles it’s been a long while since I started and I am not past the half way point. I still have over 1,550 miles to go to finish! Getting safely through the Sierras was important, but in order to position myself to get to Canada and finish the trail before this upcoming Autumn’s snow makes it impossible I’ll need to increase my mileage to 25 to 30 miles per day. I know I can do it. Wish me luck.
All the best,
Photo: Masu from Japan gave me a lucky ribbon that I tied to my backpack.
- Managing my team despite conflicting personal interests has been challenging.
- Evaluating the changing threat and risk levels of the snow and water conditions has been challenging.
- Mosquitos. Enough said!
- Reached mile 1000!
- Coached 8 hikers to safely cross the hardest river crossing -Wide creek. Watch this video of my crossing here: https://youtu.be/fT4K8RGm8Nc
- I had to make some hard leadership decisions but I made the right choices that kept my team safe and morale high.
- I’m feeling confident now about my ability to finish.
Photo: our award winning team!
Day 70 (July 8): Mammoth to Thousand Islands Lake; Start: 914.9 End: 922.9 Total: 8+4 road walk=12
Day 71: to Tuolomne Meadows, hitch to Lee Vining resupply; Start: 922.9 End: 942.5 Total: 19.6
Day 72: past Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, Start: 942.5 End: 951.7 Total: 9.2
Day 73: over Benson Pass, Start: 951.7 End: 970.6 Total: 18.9
Day 74: over Seavey Pass to Wide Creek crossing, Start: 970.6 End: 987.4 Total: 16.8
Day 75 (July 13): over Dorothy Lake Pass to Kennedy Creek, reached mile 1000! Start: 987.4 End: 1005.9 Total: 18.5
Day 76: to Sonora Pass, (nero) Start: 1005.9 End: 1016.9 Total: 11
Day 77: to East Fork Carson River, Start: 1016.9 End: 1022.3 Total:
Day 78: to Asa Lake, Start: 1022.3 End: 1041.3 Total: 19
Day 79: over Noble Lake Saddle, Start: 1041.3 End: 1061.6 Total: 20.3
Day 80: over Carson Pass to Dixon Canyon, Start: 1061.6 End: 1081.9 Total: 20.3
Day 81: to Echo Lake, hitch into South Lake Tahoe Start: 1081.9 End: 1092.3 Total: 10.3
Day 82&83: Zeros – no miles, just rest.