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City: Mi Wuk Village
Begins: Jul 2, 2015
Date: Sat, Feb 28th, 2015
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
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Ohhh the Sunsets
We'd better get going, Canada is not coming to us - a frequent quip from my friend Thirstyboots during the 2013 season. That season allowed enough time to reach the mid-point. But only hiking half-way leaves just so much unfinished business. Business I had hoped to finish in 2014, but the season did not allow me to get back on the trail. Fortunately it looks like the 2015 season will allow time to reach Canada. I'd better get going.
I came off the trail on the 4th of July at mile 1335.8 on Highway 36 near Chester. I reached the junction just before dark and crossed the road to score a soda in the ice chest that I knew would be stashed there by some wonderful trail angel - I was not disappointed. In my mind's eye I can still see the trail as it led off into the darkening forest. The image persists. The trail calls.
The plan is to resume the journey on the 4th of July and reach Canada around the first of September. Theoretically this will place me in about the same position in the North bound herd. The 2015 snow year looks to be similar to 2013, so the distribution of the herd should be similar. Of course the movie Wild has dramatically increased interest in the trail and the corresponding number of applicants. Surely a good number of these folks have overly romantic visions that will quickly fade as they encounter the rigors of thru hiking. Yet totally unprepared newbies have successfully thru hiked the PCT before. No doubt the number of finishers will increase, although the completion rate may decline.
And just what is so romantic about the trail? For me it is things like sleeping under the stars every night. It's living outside in the fresh air - something I can actually feel - and then I don't feel when I'm back inside my nice insulated, sealed home. It's the simple adventure of discovering what's around the next corner and over the next mountain. It's the wind, the sun, the rain, the heat, the cold, the challenge. It's the fun of meeting like-minded people on the trail. It's the amazing kindness of the trail angels. It's hiking towards a goal, but having no particular agenda for the day. It's hiking until I find some new friends camping, or until I find a nice spot, or until I'm tired, even if it's well after dark. It's eating as much as I want - no worries, I'll never eat enough to make up for the caloric deficit. It's constantly taking in the amazing and ever changing scenery - the deserts, the forests, the mountains, the valleys, the sky, the clouds, the rivers - nature, God's amazing handiwork.
Oh, and did I mention the sunsets and hiking thru the sunsets, especially when high on a ridge?
It is actually amazing we have this trail. It's amazing so many people worked so hard over so many years to stitch together old trails and acquire ownership or rights to the the myriad of missing pieces to connect it all together. And then to maintain all 2660 miles of it when nature works so quickly to reclaim it.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org