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The Pacific Crest Trail
January 29, 2014 1:33 AM   Subscribe

On May 17, 2013 I was dropped off in Campo, California at the US/Mexico Border. Four and a half months later I was in Manning Park, British Columbia having walked the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) across California, Oregon, and Washington to get there.

This is what I saw.
posted by cthuljew (32 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite

I commend the journey, and the video does a decent job of capturing the scenery. But I cannot support the choice of music here.
posted by dogwalker at 1:50 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]

I thought the music was great! (Would love to know what it was, if anybody knows.)

If I have to lament something, it's that they didn't choose to start in Canada, as this won't do much to dispel deeply held misconceptions about the Canadian climate. I mean, really? You crossed the border and suddenly there was snow?
posted by rhombus at 2:05 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

I thought the music was great! (Would love to know what it was, if anybody knows.)

It's all listed in the information panel under the video:

Pretty Lights - I Can See It In Your Face
Phoenix - Love Like A Sunset Part II
posted by dowcrag at 2:57 AM on January 29

Must have been an amazing and beautiful trek.
...but I was really intrigued by the music.
posted by quazichimp at 3:50 AM on January 29

Sigh. I miss the west coast. Beautiful trek.
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:53 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]

dowcrag: It's all listed in the information panel under the video

Sorry, I don't see any information panel, just the video in a pop-up window.

Thanks for the tip, though!
posted by rhombus at 3:53 AM on January 29

Is it possible to die of envy? Can that happen? I may die, then. Great video.
posted by zardoz at 5:00 AM on January 29

If I have to lament something, it's that they didn't choose to start in Canada
posted by Slothrup at 5:22 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

If I have to lament something, it's that they didn't choose to start in Canada

Everyone I know who has hiked the PCT walked north, but the link Slothrup gives is intriguing. I've had a vague dream of walking the entire trail for a long time, and the video just makes me want to do it more.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:50 AM on January 29

Great vid, terrible music, and I lol'd when the first shot of Oregon was fog.
posted by TwoStride at 5:53 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

I would love to have the fortitude to do this but I know after a few days I'd whip out the gps and look for a town big enough to have a bus station to get home.

No, I'd have to do something like this in pieces. Fill in the blanks over years.
posted by birdherder at 6:04 AM on January 29

I think most people hike north so that you are in the desert lowlands part in mild spring weather while the northern part of the trail is buried under many feet of snow. I think most people hike north on the Appalachian Trail for the same reason: weather.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:45 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]

My trail name would be 'shovel boy.' Because I carry a shovel. I would need to be buried with it when I died of exhaustion the first week. :D

Awesome video!
posted by hot_monster at 6:45 AM on January 29

I've wanted to do something like this for ages but have never had the money and free time coincide to make it happen.

Also there's the thing where I hate hiking and the outdoors and 2 days into it I'd be looking for a nice hotel with a bar.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:49 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

He had such great weather! I kept waiting for it to get rainier and then at 6:18 it finally did.
posted by sleevener at 6:57 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]

posted by cashman at 7:11 AM on January 29

I'm saving for the PCT right now, I have some financial obligations but it looks like I'm on track for 2016. Thanks for the video, I've been wanting to splurge on some shit I don't need for awhile and it's good to be reminded of what I'm working for.
posted by edeezy at 8:36 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

I looked away for a second. Did I miss the part where they threw the ring into Mount Doom?
posted by elmer benson at 9:12 AM on January 29 [6 favorites]

You'd think at least once in 2,600 miles he could look up from the trail and glance left or right at the amazing scenery that must be over there, but nope, just the trail in front of his feet the whole time.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:32 AM on January 29

Awesome video, makes me wish I could do something similar.

And sleevener, [ISeeWhatYouDidThere.jpg]
posted by I Havent Killed Anybody Since 1984 at 9:39 AM on January 29

I knew it would be there, and at 5:39 it was: a hiking path bounded on one side by a yawning abyss. nope nope nope nope
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:45 AM on January 29

> Also there's the thing where I hate hiking and the outdoors and 2 days into it I'd be looking for a nice hotel with a bar.

Have you read "A Walk in the Woods", by Bill Bryson?
posted by benito.strauss at 9:46 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

Love this. But so much up and down. . .
posted by Danf at 9:55 AM on January 29


Some of the higher passes in the Sierra don't clear of snow until August. Many S/N trekkers snip out the section from about Monache Meadows to about Lake Tahoe, continue the trek to Canada, then come back to this section to finish off the season. Also, after the snows melt, running water and bogs are an issue in the higher areas of the Sierras. These all dry up by autumn.

One of the more delightful aspect of the the trail is the system of equipment drops at various places...small stores and rural post-offices that will hold your boxes, if you write the dates you expect to arrive. This saves the trekker an enormous amount of time and energy: mail your spare boots and consumables.

I spent nearly 30 years in the high country of the Sierras, between Yosemite and Kings Canyon, working as a packer for either the government or one or another pack station. In the late 70's I hauled stuff for the trail crews that, at that time, were connecting the various loose ends of the PCT to one another. Even now, the hiker will cross some sections of private land. But the longest uninterrupted stretch is between Monache Meadows and Yosemite. I have traveled for two weeks at a time in that area without seeing another person.

For me, the best times are between September and November, after the summer rains and before the serious snows. Fields of late-blooming mountain flowers decorate any place that catches dirt. The nights are clear, and you can always find a good camp with a view of the sky for viewing the annual meteor showers. Also, after Labor Day the day-hikers have a tendency to stay down in the flatlands, so the hot springs are empty of all but the dedicated hikers.

Thanks for the video. I could almost smell the aroma of clean dirt and campfire smoke. I do beg the viewer to consider that the journey is the point of the trip, not the destination.
posted by mule98J at 1:39 PM on January 29 [12 favorites]

They had perfect timing, seems like great weather all around.
posted by peter.j.torelli at 3:36 PM on January 29

I want to go to there.

Homesick like crazy.
posted by allthinky at 4:21 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]

Just to counter one thing from that link Slothrup posted. The author of that piece mentions that weather in Washington is more sunny and calm in June than it is in August and September. As a guy who grew up in Oregon and Washington I can't disagree with that statement more. June is far more likely to be rainy and cool than the other summer months.
posted by rainperimeter at 4:23 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]

Were this my video, it would probably contain dozens of cuts of me throwing rocks off the edge of a cliff, trying to hit a smaller rock hundreds of feet below.
posted by Turkey Glue at 5:45 PM on January 29

Were this my video, it probably would end early with me soaking my weary feet at Deep Creek.
posted by homunculus at 7:11 PM on January 29

Interested parties should read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a memoir written by a woman who hiked the entire PCT by herself. It's beautifully written.
posted by bluishorange at 8:46 PM on January 29

Great video and I followed the link to his website and read his "Coping With Readjustment" post-trail entry. Not sure what to make of it but he sounds a bit on the arrogant side for me.

"Sadly, a lot of people do not care to hear what you have done." ..."To tell the tale properly I would need hours, even days, and most people would prefer to spend their time distracting themselves from the things they wish they were doing instead of being reminded of them. Not that everyone would enjoy trudging through unforgiving weather and terrain on the PCT, but the idea is there."...

This put me off, thinking maybe he should take a little more interest in the other people he is talking to rather than expecting everyone to be so interested in his experience on the trail. I haven't read any of the rest of the blog so maybe he's not like that at all, but I get the impression he thinks profound life experiences can't occur to anyone other than those that don't have 9-5 workaday routines.

I could be totally off-base here and will read more of his blog. I enjoyed the video and would like to hike it myself though I will take a pass on "Cajon Pass"..
posted by dukes909 at 6:16 AM on January 30

relevant aside, re: narrative arrogance:

When they show you the pictures you can't help but be reminded that they earned the view. Getting humble is a lot easier after you catch your breath.

I usually started my trips on the new moon. Moonlit canyon walls. The wind comes--it's the gentle rushing sound you hear between your heartbeats--leaves its footprint on the treetops, moves over the ridge and into the next defile. Bottomless sky, everything is upside down.
posted by mule98J at 11:26 AM on January 31

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