Mexico, Canada, every inch in between

Hey, wait a minute…..I’ve been here before! Donner Pass undoubtedly has a notorious culinary history, and yesterday two hikers added to it in another unique way while drinking champagne from their dirty and beaten runners. For the past 137 days, everything I’ve eaten has had a healthy layer of spice (dirt), so I’m not too worried about a bit of foot odor. It’s celebration time.

2655 miles

(Technically, I didn’t follow the red line for every inch of the track, so I’m not sure of the actual distance I covered, but it’s reasonably close if not more. When there was an alternative option I thought it would provide a better experience than the technical PCT that I chose to follow this route, but still have a connecting footpath)

In a year filled with enormous difficulties for hikers, I consider myself very lucky to be among the few who will be able to string together a continuous footpath on the PCT this year. It didn’t turn out the way I envisioned, and a medical emergency forced Waffle and I out of the Sierra in late May, but that may have been our saving grace.

If we hadn’t headed to Truckee we would have been burned up north. It couldn’t have been sooner. The day I reached the Canadian border, the first sections of the road in Washington began to close. From the moment I started planning the PCT rate hike it was my biggest fear, and my biggest motivation, not to put off this hike. Every year, more and more trail burns and virgin forests become barren scars.

This trail will soon become impossible to walk in any conventional sense, as each year fewer hikers are able to retrace their steps, and more of the trail becomes damaged beyond repair. It is heartbreaking to see so many of my friends, including those who pushed north through the Sierra while so many others flipped, have their dreams shattered by these disasters. It’s not a park problem, it’s not a local problem, and it’s not a political problem. It’s a crisis.


People ask me almost daily how the PCT compares to the AT, and I never feel like I can give them a satisfactory answer without making the Appalachian Trail look bad (which it obviously doesn’t). I absolutely loved them both.

The PCT is undoubtedly easier terrain (when not covered in snow) and a more favorable work/reward ratio when it comes to beautiful views and sweeping vistas. Even in a historically wet year, I’ve only encountered “real” rain a handful of times (as opposed to weeks and weeks of rain on the AT) and I’ve never encountered true bone-chilling, anywhere near the low-temperature cold I’ve come back east. But on the other hand, PCT member cities are expensive and often poorly located, food and water hauls are much longer, and snow and fires can make it a logistical hassle. However, the PCT is the easier, nicer and more fun route.

I really need a nap

Although this path was easier, the physical damage to my body was much worse. I’m in more pain. I suffered more injuries. I wake up more tired than I went to bed. My hair growth has slowed down dramatically. I’m covered in bruises from injuries I don’t remember. My body gave up trying to recover about 500 miles ago.

I lost a lot of weight on both trails, but had a lot more to lose starting the AT at around 220 pounds. I’m not a doctor by any means, but I do know that I felt stronger and healthier when I weighed between 180-190 pounds (your body may be different) and even though I dipped below that on the AT, I never felt as bad as Do it now. My lowest weight on the AT was about 170 pounds, and as of this morning I weigh 158 pounds. I can’t recognize myself in the mirror, and not in a good way. I’ve never been able to see my ribs and hips before the way I can now, and I don’t like it. My waist is bruised and sorely rubbed against my pack’s hip belt, which I can no longer fasten.

My biggest health concern is my right foot, which (in the least dramatic way possible) I think may have been slightly fractured when I crushed it under a larger rock about 300 miles ago. It was really hurting at that point and had some temporary swelling that went away within a few days, but it’s been really hurting with every step since then. Obviously if I’ve been able to hike it for the last few weeks, I’m not overly concerned with it, but I’m definitely excited to give it a long rest.

Thanks and appreciation

I feel compelled to admit that my accomplishments here are not my own, and that my career would not have been anywhere near what it was without the support, encouragement, and love of others.

I feel very lucky to have such supportive family and friends, who have been checking in regularly with words of encouragement and praise and eagerly awaiting my latest news. The hikers around me, especially Waffles, inspired me daily and encouraged me to be a better, stronger version of myself than I ever thought possible.

I once again found myself inspired by the kindness of strangers. Trail angels who give their time, money, and energy to hikers they’ve never met make me truly believe in the goodness of humanity, and anyone willing to take a hiker (especially one who hasn’t showered in a long time) deserves it more than I can give them.

To everyone I met along the way and to those who chose to include me in their own adventures, thank you. form the deep of my heart.


I (obviously) don’t edit these before I post them, but I give them a synopsis again and that seems more depressing than it should be. I promise that I am happy and reasonably healthy and that I had the time of my life.

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