This is what hiking 2,000 miles feels like

Hiking 2,000 miles feels like waking up tired every morning, like eating the same food again and again until it loses all meaning. It feels like wondering with amazement when 20 miles became a short day. Like pushing yourself up the last climb of the day. Going faster and faster while your legs ache and sweat runs down your face and into your eyes, but you don’t slow...

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A day with long-haul hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail

They’re easy to spot this time of year in the North Cascades: lean, fast-moving hiking machines in their trail-running shoes, ultralightweight backpacks and a look in the eyes that says they have places to go. It’s the annual migration of thousands of northbound hikers traveling the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexico border to Canada. Most of them began the...

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Six Years, Four Sore Feet, 2,650 Miles

America’s glory is its cathedral of wilderness. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, visionary Americans like Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot fought to protect public lands for collective use. The upshot is that today every American inherits a stunning patrimony, a piece of some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. You may not be able to afford a weekend...

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They Bonded as the Pacific Crest Trail Burned. Now They Heal It.

He posted photos of himself on Facebook as he hiked hundreds of miles of the vast Pacific Crest Trail, masked in a bandanna to protect his lungs from the smoke of the fires that had closed down parts of it. She told him about the inner workings of NASA, where she was a college intern in Alabama. As the West burned a year ago, Mark Beebe, the hiker, and Tara Prevo, the...

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Artist paints women hikers

In 2014, Sky Evans came across a photo on the internet of Colorado’s Hope Pass. An Oregon woman Evans knew was hiking the Continental Divide Trail and had posted the photo to her blog. Evans asked if she could paint the image. “I wind up having this amazing experience with this painting in that it was like nothing I had ever done before,” Evans said last week at her home...

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Pacific Crest Trail celebrates 50 years

Thirty-six and a half miles east of Lake Isabella is the historic route discovered by Joseph Rutherford Walker in 1834 known as Walker Pass. Because the pass connects the Great Basin and the interior of California, it was only logical that when a walking and equestrian trail extending from Mexico to Canada was conceived, Walker Pass would be a vital section of that path....

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Fire and Ice: The Pacific Crest Trail in the Era of Climate Change

“Last year was the most challenging year we’ve had in terms of dealing with closures on the PCT,” said Beth Boyst, who for the last 11 years has been the trail’s chief administrator with the U.S. Forest Service (the PCT passes through all different designations of federal and state land, but USFS holds the lead oversight role). Boyst’s tenure has...

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Feral cattle terrorize hikers and devour native plants in a California national monument

Sand to Snow National Monument is a quiet place — its mountainous high desert and cascading streams a draw for those seeking panoramic views, tranquillity and solitude. But on a recent morning, the serenity was ruined by a menacing bellowing, making it clear passing hikers weren’t alone. On a ridgeline near a popular stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, five feral...

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First look at Pacific Crest Trail after Columbia Gorge fire

Branches flew. Trail tools smoothed the earth. Stones tumbled downhill, crackling like Rice Krispies as gravity took hold. The trail workers are back. Hardhat-clad crew leaders began work last month on a section of Pacific Crest Trail that’s been closed near the Columbia River Gorge tourist town of Cascade Locks since a wildfire ripped through the region last summer. The...

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Planning a Thru-Hike? Here’s Some Insta-spiration

  If you’re among the thousands who will attempt to conquer a long-distance hiking trail in its entirety within the 2018 hiking season, then you’re probably already busy training, saving, planning, and steeling yourself for some serious communing with nature. In the United States, the term “thru-hiking” is most commonly associated with the Appalachian Trail...

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Lightning strike blasts clothes off Sierra hiker

An Austrian man hiking 9,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada was on a peak taking a photo when he was struck by a lightning bolt that blasted away his clothes, burned a hole in one of his shoes and left him with severe burns. Mathias Steinhuber, who was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with his girlfriend and friend Carla Elvidge had an entry wound on his hand and an exit...

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The Pacific Crest Trail’s shadow hikers

Against the backdrop of a desert sunrise, two human silhouettes exchange double high-fives. By 8 a.m., a bouncing crowd of a couple dozen has gathered around a group of wooden columns emblazoned with the crest of the Pacific Crest Trail — the monument that marks the start of the 2,650-mile path. These are “thru-hikers,” people who intend to hike from the fence on the...

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How dangerous are High Sierra conditions right now? Even experienced hikers say ‘stay out’

High-elevation hiking and backpacking in early summer typically requires a tolerance for snow and swollen creeks. Except conditions this year in the Sierra Nevada, with last winter’s giant snowpack starting to melt, are anything but typical. They’re treacherous and potentially deadly – even for the most experienced and best equipped wilderness travelers. “In a normal...

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What you need to know before hiking the John Muir Trail

The John Muir Trail passes through what many backpackers say is the finest mountain scenery in the United States. This is a land of 13,000-foot and 14,000-foot peaks, of lakes in the thousands, and of canyons and granite cliffs. The John Muir Trail is also a land blessed with the mildest, sunniest climate of any major mountain range in the world. The trail is 211 miles...

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Anza-Borrego Foundation has helped protect the California desert for 50 years

Dropping into Southern California’s Anza-Borrego State Park from a twisting ride down Montezuma Valley Road, you get the sense Anza-Borrego is a world unto itself. A world of ancient fossils and mysterious mirages, lush palm oases and hidden waterfalls, ocotillo forests, remote hiking trails and captivating wildlife from tarantulas and chuckwalla lizards to golden...

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Billy Goat’s Never-Ending Thru-Hike

Perhaps the most venerated hiker in PCT history is standing beside the large wooden sign that welcomes visitors to Rainy Pass trailhead. George “Billy Goat” Woodard, a retired railroad conductor from Maine, has hiked the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail eight times and most of the route two additional times. He is 77 years old and, ever since retiring...

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Collaborative Project May Impact Weekday Hiking on Pacific Crest and Summit Lake Trails

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience (ACE), the Truckee Trail Foundation (TTF) and the Tahoe National Forest are working diligently to set the foundation for a major work day involving over 200 employees from Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI). The project will reconstruct sections of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) north of California Old Highway 40 past...

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‘Packing It Out’ Crew Update: 100 Miles, 150lbs of Trash

With their first post from the trail, the ‘Packing It Out’ crew gives an update on their mission to thru-hike the 2,600-mile PCT while collecting trash along the way. Packing It Out was formed late in 2014 when 24-year-old Seth Orme had a post-hike epiphany atop a North Carolina outcrop called, fatefully, Pickens Nose: Why not hike the Appalachian Trail and pick up every...

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Congress to border brass: Let Pacific Crest Trail hikers come in from Canada

Hikers coming into the U.S. from Canada should be able to enjoy spectacular northern reaches of the Pacific Crest Trail and not face fine or arrest, 20 members of Congress have written to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Unfortunately, hikers seeking to traverse the PCT from its northern most point on the Canadian side of the border are unable to legally do so...

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‘Girl In The Woods’: Healing through hiking

Nature and the wilderness is often portrayed as a place of peace and isolation, but any illusion that the wilderness of the Pacific Crest Trail is isolated and peaceful is proven false in Wild Child’s experiences along the trail. The Pacific Crest Trail hiking line is a male-dominated environment, peopled with strange men and women, and offers very little protection from...

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Teddi Boston: ‘Pacific Crest Trails Firsts’

On Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 the San Gorgonio Chapter of the Sierra Club will have its monthly meeting at the San Bernardino County Museum, in Redlands, CA at 7:30 p.m. Guests are invited to visit the club as Teddi Boston, the first female thru-hiker to complete the Pacific Crest Trail, presents a program of stories and photographs titled: “Pacific Crest Trail Firsts.” In...

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Portion of Pacific Crest Trail may re-open in spring 2016

In July 2013, the Mountain Fire burned more than 26,000 acres in Riverside County, California with both the fire and the immediate rainstorm destroying miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Almost 15 miles from Garner Valley near Paradise Corner to Saddle Junction had to be closed for safety reasons. Much of this trail remains closed. For the past two...

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Drought on the Pacific Crest Trail offers harsh lessons

If you couldn’t carry enough water to make it 20 miles, should you be out here? California is in the grips of a severe drought. Creeks that Flash remembered soaking her feet in years before were just rivers of sand now. How long before sections of the Pacific Crest Trail were basically unhikeable? Coming up were 40-mile dry stretches, with handfuls of volunteer...

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Pacific Crest Trail stretches 460 miles across Oregon; do these 15 best day hikes

It’s the dream hike, all 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Or, maybe, the nightmare hike, when things don’t go quite right. Either way, that long-distance trail gem, from Mexico to Canada, is etched in the minds of many American hikers, especially those who live in the states the Pacific Crest Trail crosses _ California, Oregon and...

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Airman hiking 710 miles to honor fellow soldiers

Tech. Sgt. Stacy Trosine is on the journey of a lifetime. The Fairchild Air Force Base airman is hiking 710 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, much of it alone, in honor of three soldiers she served with in Afghanistan. She started the trek on Aug. 8. Trosine has been deployed seven times in her 18-year military career, including three stints in Afghanistan, but her most...

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BCH of Washington Aids in Pacific Crest Trail Reconstruction

Back Country Horsemen (BCH) of America says it values wild lands and the right to enjoy them by horseback. Protecting the wilderness from unnecessary damage is imperative to keeping it pristine. But that creates unique challenges that can prevent proper maintenance of trails, bridges, shelters, and other amenities that allow us to recreate there. The U.S. Forest...

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You Think Your Winter Was Rough?

In October, two young Americans set off on the most daring and foolhardy wilderness expedition since, oh, maybe Lewis and Clark. They were trying to become the first people ever to backpack from Canada to Mexico on the Pacific Crest Trail in the dead of winter. Once before, in 1983, two people set out to traverse the trail in winter. They never made it. Their bodies were...

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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...

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Interview with the two guys that are nearing then end of a remarkable winter thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail

Justin Lichter and Shawn Forry are 180 miles from the Mexican border and the completion of their remarkable winter thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. They started in October 2014 and have been snowshoeing, skiing and hiking ever since. Journeys on the PCT are remarkably personal. The trail is truly a place to see what makes you tick, from physical to emotional to...

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Permit system to alleviate traffic on Pacific Crest Trail

Growing numbers of hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail, the Mexico-to-Canada route made increasingly popular by the movie “Wild,” have led officials to take steps to alleviate traffic. The Pacific Crest Trail Association announced on February 4, 2015 a new permitting system that will limit to 50 the number of long-distance hikers heading north each day from San...

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A walk on the wild side: meet the first woman to YoYo the Pacific Crest Trail

Last year, a 44-year-old walked out of her life in the UK and on to the plains and mountains of America. In doing so, Olive McGloin, from Dublin, Ireland, became the first woman in the world to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, from the borders of Mexico to Canada and back again, non-stop. They call it the YoYo when you attempt the return trip in one go – and the test it...

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Hiking 2,650 miles on Pacific Crest Trail too easy? Try it in winter

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is closer to the forefront of popular culture. But tackling the 2,650-mile trail during winter is an unheard-of feat — for now. That’s something backcountry adventurers Justin Lichter and Shawn Forry want to change. The two men are embarking on an attempt to traverse the entire route during a season when conditions are at their most...

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