Pacific Crest Trail 2019

Canada to Mexico
2,650+ miles
June 26 – November 9, 2019


1  |  Canada to Stehekin – No rain, no pain, no bakery
2  |  Stehekin to Stevens Pass (part 1) – All the small things
3  |  Stehekin to Stevens Pass (part 2) – Send fog pics
4  |  Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass – A postcard from the Space Needle
5  |  Snoqualmie Pass to White Pass – The sun’s in my heart
6  |  White Pass to Trout Lake – Goats on the rocks with a twist
7  |  Trout Lake to Oregon, baby! – By and by

8  |  Cascade Locks to Ollalie Lake Resort – The Promised Land
9  |  Ollalie Lake Resort to Bend – The space between volcanoes
10  |  Bend to Ashland – Stronger than yesterday

11  |  Ashland to Seiad Valley – Commencing victory lap
12  |  Seiad Valley to Dunsmuir – According to Guthook
13  |  Dunsmuir to Chester – Kingdom of the animals
14  |  Chester to Sierra City – A really long approach to the Sierra

15  |  Sierra City to South Lake Tahoe – Squad goals
16  |  South Lake Tahoe to Sonora Pass – Hazed by the Sierra
17  |  Sonora Pass to Tuolomne Meadows – Beauty and pain
18  |  The Sierra High Route (Tuolumne Meadows to Mammoth Lakes)
19  |  Mammoth Lakes to Bishop – The one where she thinks about quitting
20  |  Bishop to Lone Pine – Last one to the top

21  |  Lone Pine to Tehachapi – New ecosystem, who dis
22  |  Tehachapi to Agua Dulce – Curiouser and curiouser
23  |  Agua Dulce to Big Bear – Santa Ana comes to town
24  |  Big Bear to Idyllwild(ish) – One more moondance
25  |  Idyllwild(ish) to terminus – No hurt, no dirt, no Mexico


Video  |  The Sierra High Route
Poem  |  I dreamed the PCT
Poem  |  The moon over Mt. Saint Helens


Why SOBO (southbound)?
You can read the full story here. I’ve always planned to sobo the PCT, initially to enjoy some measure of solitude rather than join a massive crowd heading north. But the more research I did, the more it seemed like a good idea — especially in 2019, with a historic snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains that will mostly melt out by the time I arrive in the fall. Other sobo advantages include a shorter mosquito season, less (not no) chance of wildfires in Washington, full hiker boxes, and a leisurely finish.

How long will it take?
Um, we’ll see. Between 4 and 5 months, I hope. Gotta hit the Sierra before the first winter storm.

What gear do you use? / What do you eat?
I’ve been backpacking with largely the same setup for the past few years; I love my staples: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 3400 backpack, Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker single-wall tent, Western Mountaineering fifteen degree bag, and Sea to Summit Ultralight sleeping pad. I carry a paper journal and a town romper. My base weight is greater than that of a melon and less than that of Elphaba, my roommate’s Maine Coon.

Dark mistress of c h o n k

On the CDT, strength and nutrition were two of my biggest challenges. I’ve always had a suspiciously high metabolism. No matter how many townburgers or Oreos, I couldn’t eat enough to keep myself from withering away. I got faster, but not stronger. I was tired All. The. Time.

And I made it to Canada moaning and shaking, but it wasn’t a good look. This time I know I have to do something different, diet-wise. We’ll see how that goes.

Are you alone?!

This is the question I get 5x more than any other while hiking solo. I’ve polled some male friends: they rarely hear it, and never followed by admonitions about the danger posed by other human beings.

It took me a minute to figure out why it bothered me SO MUCH that people are SO SHOCKED, and then I realized — they’re implying, consciously or not, that I should have been too scared. That I should have stayed home. That there are some things women just aren’t meant to do.

And then…

On the CDT in Colorado, a day hiker asked me the question. I said “yep” and braced myself, ready to hear how careful I needed to be.

But she said, “My daughter is ten and she wants to hike the Colorado Trail. She’ll be so excited to hear about you.”

… I’m not crying.

You’re crying.

[Anecdotally, the PCT is far more gender-balanced than my last trail — close to half of hikers are said to be women, compared to the ~25% I observed on the CDT. No info on how this is impacted by southbounding.]

Do you carry a gun?
Who’s asking?

Aren’t you afraid of ____?
Probably. And yet, off I go!