Why the Pacific Crest Trail?

The Pacific Crest Trail is a long-distance hiking trail that runs from the Mexican border of California, to the Northern border of Canada in Washington. At 2,650 miles long, the trail is a test of endurance both mentally and physically for any hiker, taking up to 5 or 6 months to complete.

Rory has been an avid hiker and nature enthusiast since his youth. At age, 8, he scaled Half Dome and fell in love with the beauty of the Yosemite Valley. He eventually progressed to longer and more strenuous hikes, and learned much along the way. In 2009 he completed his certification as a Wilderness First Responder, a medical course focused on emergency situations that may arise in the wilderness. With the knowledge and experience he gained, he began looking towards completing a longer trek. The Pacific Crest Trail seemed ideal.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tehachapi, CA to Mammoth Lakes, CA

It's been far too long since my last blog post, due to the off-the-grid nature of everywhere I've been since Tehachapi. Since then the biggest news is that I've trekked through the most feared section of the trail, section H of the Sierras. As of now I've hiked more than 1/3 of the way to Canada, and am in Mammoth Lakes, CA at mile 906.7. The conditions getting here have been extreme, with many dangerous mountain passes, and even more high river crossings. Because of these conditions, most people have "flipped" or "skipped" up to Oregon, planning to come back when the snow is gone. My crew has decided to push on, coining the phrase "Flips are for gymnasts, stay true to the thru", in reference to the attempt to have a continuous hike. This last section has been stunning, and well worth the extra effort as we traverse the famous John Muir Trail through the Sierras to Yosemite, where I'll be in a few days. The snow has slowed mileage down from 20+ miles to often under 10, requiring much more food than usual as we burn more calories. As we entered the Sierras there was much fear mongering about obstacles like Forrester and Mather Pass, Evolution and Bear Creek, all of which are now behind us. By far the biggest challenge so far has been Mather Pass, where steep snow faces and extremely sketchy rock scrambles made me wonder how crazy I am for essentially mountaineering without mountaineering equipment. At one point, I found myself stuck on a rock slope on my way to a traverse, standing on a few inches of a ledge. To get to the traverse required letting go and jumping down to all small outcrop. Thankfully, it seems the worst of the Sierras are behind me, leaving only river crossings to be concerned about. Some river crossings take careful planning, as they are often only crossable in the morning hours. Yesterday, the trail crossed a waterfall that was most certainly uncrossable. After consulting my map, I saw the trail crossed back about 600 feet up the cliff. To get to the trail, and to Mammoth, required a decent rock climb with pack on up the falls to the next trail crossing. The same falls had been ankle-deep and calm only hours before. These ever-changing conditions make any news about the trail ahead hard to be sure of, so Quake, Unload, and I have decided to see for ourselves. We leave Mammoth today and hope to be in Tuolumne Meadows by Thursday or Friday, where snowpack is 300% above normal.

Couldn't be happier,


1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say that I'm really enjoying reading your blog and am envious of the great time you're having! I hiked some 60 miles of the AT with some friends in Virginia for spring break this year and am now starting to gather all of my own hiking equipment with the hope of making use of every opportunity I have (which aren't many with my schedule) to go backpacking.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this ;).