Leave No Trace (LNT) is a set of principles aimed at leaving the world in the same condition as you found it. Whether you’re day hiking, backpacking, or living in the city, you can apply these principles to limit your impact on our environment. Every day on the Pacific Crest Trail, the Leave No Trace ethic guides our behavior:
– In the morning after packing up our belongings, we check the campsite to make sure it’s pristine, especially looking for small items like tent stakes and trash.
– As our tummies start to grumble, we eat granola bars for breakfast. The wrappers go into our trash bag. We pack out all of our trash.
– We always follow the trail, especially in steep switchbacked sections, where short cuts cause serious erosion and destabilization problems for future hikers.
– Around noon we like to cook a meal. We make sure to cook only what we need, wasting nothing. To clean up our pot and utensils, we use a mini scraper (pictured below) to remove as much food as possible. Then if needed we rinse the pot with water and drink the rinse water. We never wash dishes in a stream or lake because this adds unnatural soap and food to the water.
– When nature calls, we dig a hole about 6 inches deep and at least 200 feet from water, make a deposit, wipe with smooth sticks or leaves, then fill the hole back in. If you prefer to use toilet paper, please make sure to pack it out with the rest of your trash. If you just need to water the bushes, make sure you are at least 200 feet from water.
– Prior to heading into the wilderness, as well as constantly during the trip, we are planning ahead and preparing for what is to come. This minimizes our impact on the environment by curtailing emergency situations.
– As evening approaches, we select a campsite located on a durable surface such as pine needles, dead leaves, or sand. Our goal is to avoid damaging plants and fragile soils. Established campsites are best because they do not create additional disturbance to the area.
– We almost always cook using our stove and are too tired for an evening campfire. If we fancied a campfire one night, we would only create one in an established fire ring, in an area where campfires were allowed and forest fire risk was low.
Those are some of the ways we practice Leave No Trace each day. To learn more about LNT, please visit the Leave No Trace website.
We encourage you to minimize your impact on our planet in everything you do. Through actions like recycling, buying local organic produce, walking or biking instead of driving, and refraining from watering your lawn, you can help preserve the limited resources we all share.
Here are a few highlights from our past five days on the Pacific Crest Trail:
– Chris received his trail name! On the morning of Day 23 we met Big Wuss and continued to leapfrog with him the rest of the day. Our pace was slightly faster and we would catch him, but soon Chris would pause for a few minutes to compose a photograph, and Big Wuss would pass us back. We lost track of Big Wuss late in the afternoon, but on the morning of Day 24, he caught up with us again because surprise, surprise, Chris was taking a photo of a creek. And that’s how Chris earned his trail name: Shutterbug.
– On Day 23 we viewed Big Bear Lake from a ridge high above, with snow-capped peaks rising behind the town. Beautiful!
– We are feeling strong and continue to increase our daily mileage. Here’s a summary of the ground we’ve trod in the last five days:
Day 21: Creek side Camp (235.5)-North of Onyx Summit (252.5); 17 miles
Day 22: North of Onyx Summit (Mile 252.5)-Near Doble Trail Camp (Mile 268.5); 16 miles
Day 23: Near Doble Trail Camp (Mile 268.5)-Holcomb Creek (Mile 286.5); 18 miles
Day 24: Holcomb Creek (Mile 286.5)-Deep Creek (Mile 303.5); 17 miles
Day 25: Deep Creek (Mile 303.5)-Uphill from Grass Valley Creek (Mile 320); 16.5 miles