The first shipment of our book Pacific Crest Trail: A Journey in Photographs arrived! We opened the first box, pulled out a book, flipped slowly through the pages, and took a mental trip through the wilderness from Mexico to Canada. We were overjoyed to see our vision for the book realized. Order a beautiful book for yourself here:
We’re hard at work assembling boxes, signing and wrapping books, and printing mailing labels. If you pre-ordered a signed book, it will ship on Monday. When you receive your book, drop us a comment on the blog and let us know your thoughts.
Our PCT thru hike was an amazing adventure. Creating this book turned out to be an equally challenging and rewarding journey.
Day 2: Mile 11- past Lake Morena to mile 26; 15 miles
Day 3: Mile 26 – 36; 10 miles
Day 4: Mile 36 – 45.5; 9.5 miles plus Mt. Laguna town resupply
The first stretch of the PCT from the Mexican border to Mt. Laguna has been great. We are seeing beautiful landscapes, observing interesting wildlife, getting our legs accustomed to our pack weight and daily mileage, and meeting friendly people.
The scenery tends to be low shrubs covering rolling hills with occasional wildflowers interspersed.
However, there are plenty of exceptions. Stands of large oak trees grow near creeks, some sections have rocky outcrops, and as we gained elevation near Mt Laguna we entered a pine forest. One of our favorite spots was near a big oak tree that looked to be hundreds of years old. Old trees have a calming but powerful presence and we really enjoyed that campsite.
Mexican border (mile 0) to mile 11.25
Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way.
- Dr. Seuss
We experienced our first trail magic before we even reached the trail. Scout and Frodo, who hiked the PCT in 2007 were super helpful hosting us and arranging rides to the trailhead. They hosted many other hikers too, and had a BBQ with various of their PCT friends. It was great to chat maps and photography with Half Mile, whose maps we are using on this trip. And we met a number of other hikers like us crazy enough to try to thru hike the PCT.
This morning Tristan drove us to the trailhead at 6 AM. We touched the Mexican border fence, signed the trail register, and then we were on our way.
When you picture a desert, you might imagine a barren expanse of land, but the desert here is anything but barren. We saw lots of wildflowers and a variety of trees, grasses, and animals.
We’ve decided to start hiking a bit earlier than we originally planned, for a few reasons. The early start will allow us to walk fewer miles in the beginning of the trip and more gradually increase our pace. It has been a very low snow year for California, so starting a week early shouldn’t cause any snow challenges. Also, we finished our tour of possible new cities (more thoughts on that below). Finally, as you might guess, we’re antsy to hit the trail. Our new plan is to start hiking north from the US/Mexican border on April 19th. That’s less than a week from now!
We had a great tour of potential cities to live in after we finish the hike. Each place had its own unique feel and culture, and we’re glad we took the time to explore them firsthand. The place that clicked with us best was Fort Collins, Colorado. The friendly, down to earth people, good bike lanes, lively walkable downtown, proximity to the mountains, and art scene were all major positives for us. We are very excited to call Fort Collins our new home after hiking the PCT!
Sunset in the Old Town area of Fort Collins
Although we just picked a new home city, the woods and mountains of the Pacific Crest Trail will be our home for the next five months. We received our permits from the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) allowing us to camp anywhere along the trail. We are very grateful to the PCTA for coordinating with the many National Park, State Park, and Forest Service organizations to make this permit process so simple.
Fortunately we will not need to carry five months of food on our backs as we hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Instead we will resupply every few days at a town, post office, or small business which holds packages for hikers. This approach required a great deal of planning and preparation, which was by turns exciting and monotonous.
Chris tests out a powdered drink mix
On the advice of many previous thru hikers, we are striving for variety in our trail diet. Thus, while planning, we taste tested numerous meal options. Drawing on our knowledge of thru hike nutrition, and in conjunction with our food planning math spreadsheets, we created a massive grocery list. We have just updated our Food page with many details about our food choices. You can access the page by clicking the “Food” link at the top of our blog.
Although we were organized before heading to the grocery store, we still spent several hours in the bulk food section. Shopping for variety while purchasing a large quantity of food takes time. It was exhilarating to see our extensive planning turn into piles of food in a shopping cart. We were surprised to realize how much food we will eat over the next five months. That really hit home when we saw all the food in one place.
One my photographs is published in today’s Wall Street Journal:
The photograph also appears in the printed version of the newspaper, on page C9.
Many thanks to our food sponsors, who are providing us with sustenance on our Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike. Please support these companies, because they produce some of the best-tasting, healthiest, and most ethically-produced backpacking foods available.
Simple Squares are organic, gluten-free snack bars made with 6 simple ingredients. Their herb and spice flavors are unique and very tasty. A number of flavors are available. Try their new Cinnamon Clove bars. We dig them!
Receive 20% off with coupon code: PCT
Outdoor Herbivore makes delicious one-pot dried meals. All their products are vegetarian, low sodium, and almost all ingredients are certified organic, from US farms. www.outdoorherbivore.com
We have had a productive and exhausting week. Friday, February 24 was our last day working for US EPA and UC Berkeley. We each had wonderful send-off parties and left feeling supported on our journey.
The moving truck is packed. It all fits!
Over the weekend we finished packing up our apartment, a task which always seems to take longer than expected. Then on Monday we picked up a rental truck and moved all of our possessions into a 5×10 foot storage unit. Luckily, everything fit.