The joyous, muddy end of an epic Pacific Crest journey

A 17 percent chance turned into a sure thing Sunday, March 1st in a remote part of Southern California at the border with Mexico. That’s when Shawn “Pepper” Forry and Justin “Trauma” Lichter trudged up a muddy hillside during a desert downpour to reach the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The two men had just completed what’s thought to be the first documented, wintertime through-hike of the iconic, 2,650-mile footpath from Canada to Mexico. “My heart is still racing,” said Forry, 33, moments after touching the trailhead marker. “It is a pretty joyous moment.”

Before their start date October 21 Forry told friends he calculated their odds of succeeding at 17 percent. But those odds took a sharp jump for the better a few weeks ago when the duo descended from the High Sierra tired, hungry but otherwise unscathed.

For people in the hiking community who track accomplishments on the Pacific Crest Trail the successful culmination of a wintertime hike is considered a monumental accomplishment.

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