Pacific Crest Trail 2019

I’m currently attempting a southbound hike of the Pacific Crest Trail: 2,650 miles from Canada to Mexico. I started on June 26.

I will try to write a blog recap of each section and publish them when I stop in town. You can find it all on my Instagram, which is the best way to get in touch with me.


Blog

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1  |  Canada to Stehekin  :: No rain, no pain, no bakery


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Your encouragement means a lot!

My Venmo is @jenny-gaeng, and $5 for a beer or a shower would be an amazing gift.


FAQ

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?
In each of my blog posts, I’ll do a mini-review of how my choices are working out. 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!