Comparison Between Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail

I feel like most people I’ve talked to who hiked both the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) agree that the answer to which trail is harder is, “they are different trails it’s really hard to compare the two.” That being said most hikers would probably say the AT is more physically demanding while being more comfortable and the PCT is less physically demanding while more mentally taxing. This is strange because the PCT is around 500 miles longer, hell even the abbreviation for the PCT is longer then the abbreviation for the AT! Also, the highest point on the PCT coming in at 13,153 ft is at Forester Pass, with a lot of hikers making the trek to the top of Mount Whitney at 14,505 ft as a side hike, since you pass so close and the AT’s highest peak is only 6,643 ft at Clingmans Dome. How can the AT be more physically demanding, you ask? Well first off it seems to me the AT’s goal is to go straight up every peak along the way from Georgia to Maine while the PCT is graded for pack animals, so even though the summits are higher on the PCT the trail doesn’t go straight up! Well not all the time anyway and it might feel like it does some days, but the fact that I knocked out more miles per day on average on the PCT makes me feel that this statement is true.


Forester Pass Vs Clingmans Dome

How’s the PCT more mentally tasking? It rained the whole time on the AT and I was almost completely drained by mosquito’s. While it hardly rained on the the PCT for 2,144 of the 2,700 miles and I was strolling along this nicely graded path. So what does being more comfortable mean? For example Clingmans Dome can be accessed by a fully-paved and only half a mile long road. This highest point on the AT has an alternative route to the white blazed trail that involves driving most of the way. After spending half an hour searching for the trail head to Forester pass I can only conclude you have to hike in on the JMT/PCT the two trails parallel each other for some distance or drive to Junction Pass and hike over it and then reach Forester pass. It’s all about the access and planning that makes the AT more comfortable and the PCT mentally taxing. The AT hike is basically running from town to town getting beer and resupplies every couple of days. While the PCT involves more planning and longer hitches into town. The ability to resupply is more limited and involves more mail drops and relying on other people to take you to and from the trail heads since towns are farther away. On the AT you’re hitching because you don’t want to walk the 2 miles while on the PCT you’re hitching because it would take another day to walk into town.


It was easier to relax on the AT because you are basically following a beaten path that is hard to miss, while on the PCT snow totally covers the trail and there are more then one set of tracks to follow all taking slightly different paths hopefully to the same place. Its also hard to relax when you are sliding down a hill trying to stop yourself with an ice axe before you pitch into an alpine lake.

“Generally speaking, thru hikers on the PCT go to extreme lengths to cut down on their pack weight. While counting ounces is important on the AT, most typical AT pack weights are more than that of what you would see on the PCT. Even the most popular packs on the PCT are themselves from ultralight brands such as Gossamer Gear and ULA instead of Osprey or Gregory, as seen on the AT. Still, gear choices always vary heavily from one hiker to another.” – Carlie Gentry

The other major difference is the tree corridor you are in on the AT, the scenery is basically the same tree cover above. It’s not until you get to New Hampshire that you are really excited about the next view. Whereas most of the PCT is spent hiking from dramatic view to dramatic view. You also go from desert to rain forest while hiking the PCT with drastic changes in environment. With that being said for me I thought the desert was really challenging physically and mentally. If someone would have asked which was harder while I was still in the desert I would have said the PCT, but the desert is not the whole PCT just part of the experience. There was much more amazing sections to overall experience that is the PCT.


I personally liked the PCT better and would hike all of it but the desert again if given the chance. While if given the chance to hike the AT again I would turn it down, with the exception of New Hampshire and Maine. I disliked the desert so much I am dreading hiking the CDT. I am only slightly nervous of the grizzly bear, but dread having to hike through the desert again!

The End!

Day 140 14 PCT miles

Day 141 18 PCT miles – stayed at Pear Lake

Day 142 26 PCT miles

Day 143 20 PCT miles

Day 144 22 PCT miles

Day 145 22 PCT miles

Day 146 14 PCT miles – stayed at Fireweed Camp

Day 147 23 PCT miles – stayed at Brush Creek, built first fire of hike

Day 148 22 PCT miles

Day 149 23 PCT miles and 6 back to camp

Day 150 0 PCT miles walked back to Harts Pass

Once I crossed the Washington border, it pretty much rained or snowed everyday until the end of my hike.  It had stayed just above freezing the previous day which lead me to spend a whole day in my tent trying to avoid, in my opinion, the most dangerous weather. My person and gear were completely soaked except for my sleeping bag and spare clothing I keep in an extra garbage bag for just such occasions! After waking up and making coffee in my tent from my sleeping bag, I decided to try and wait out the rain hoping it would quit or turn to snow. After hours of mind numbing boredom and blowing through my food at a dangerous rate, I finally pushed on towards the evening.

The next day at the top of the ridge, I got my wish; it turned from rain to freezing rain then finally to snow.

Racing down the mountain trying to make it to the resort before it closes, I slide and stumble my way down! Arriving as they are closing, the girl behind the counter gave me a warm coffee and said that she would give me a ride into town and called a hostel to see if there was still room. The hot coffee made my day!

As I stood dripping all over the floor slowly making a puddle, waiting for the barista to close, another hiker came into the resort. Slowly making her own puddle as I tell her she can probably get a ride into town and if she wanted to split a room, I already had one.

Arriving in town a short while later, we get our room and unpack while swapping stories and beta on what’s to come. So close to the end, we are both excited and sad.

I am concerned with my transportation off the trail and to an airport! Apparently, I am banned from Canada for life, according to an email I got after requesting advanced permission to cross the boarder at an unmanned point; even though I had just skied in Banff the winter before. This was extremely disappointing news since I love the country and the skiing it provides and now I had to back track 29 miles and hope my girlfriend who had dumped me on this hike once already actually picks me up like she is insisting on doing.

After we were done unpacking,  I went to inquire about fuel canisters for my stove. The proprietor said he had some canisters and he would get them to me shortly. Some other hikers overheard my exchange and said they had just left some half full canisters in the hiker box. Unbeknownst to me, the proprietor was gathering up these exact containers to resell to me at an exorbitant price! Luckily, I could feel the containers were half empty and asked for full ones.

Since I have to hike back to Hart’s pass, I stashed a lot of my gear there and continued ahead with pretty much just a ground cloth to use as a shelter, food, and my sleeping bag. I really regret leaving behind my gloves.

The last night it was difficult to sleep because mice kept running all over me. I wake up to find my chapstick stolen!

Completing the trail on day 149 was really anticlimatic, reaching the border by myself and having to hike back to Hart’s Pass the way I just came feels disappointing.

Bring on the Last State (WA)

Day 126 19 PCT miles

Day 127 21 PCT miles

Day 128 23 PCT miles

Day 129 25 PCT miles

Day 130 27 PCT miles

Day 131 24 PCT miles – stayed just passed Shoe Lake

Day 132 25 PCT miles- stayed at Two Lakes

Day 133 25 PCT miles – stayed at Arch Rock Trail

Day 134 26 PCT miles

Day 135 25 PCT miles

Day 136 7 PCT miles – stumbled 4 miles up the hill from the DruBru Brewery. Employees at the local hotel I planned to stay at sucked, so I drank with the money I would have spent for lodging and skipped the shower until the next town

Day 137 20 PCT miles

Day 138 8 PCT miles – rained all day; got really cold and decided to stay in sleeping bag instead of getting warm clothes wet

Day 139 23 PCT miles

While sampling the drinks at Thunder Island Brewery in Cascade Locks, OR; waiting on Grant to get off work; my waitress offered to give me a ride to Hood River, where Grant works. I finally made it to meet Grant as he was finishing work. We crossed the Columbia Gorge and went to the red house in Washington where he lives. I am super lucky to have friends in cool places! We spent a couple days boating and anevening chilling around a driftwood fire on the beach, with some old friends from back Eastand some new ones who will later accompany me boating down the Grand Canyon.

After the short break, Grant pointed out numerous times that once he dropped me off back at Cascade Locks I would be hiking right back toward Mt. Adams which is basically where we are at!

A very short evening of hiking lead me to stop in an ancient forest for the night; right outside of Cascade Locks. The forest had a really eerie primordial feel to it. I felt as if something were watching me. Waking up to a darkened morning from the old growth forest blocking the sun, I pack my stuff still feeling a presence. I believe it is the forest itself, as I leave down the trail.

The days melt together as I continue the familiar ritual of pack, unpack, set up, take down, walk, eat, walk, eat, and eat again. This time dry Ramen while hiking to make up time, and repeat, until reaching a small town. Once a hiker, well I guess I can’t speak for all hikers, reaches a town their minds go straight to FOOD. I call this trail amnesia. Getting to town eating and drinking beer then the next day when you’re back on the trail, you realize you forgot important resupply stuff like toilet paper because you were busy stuffing your face! A hiker has to make up for that calorie deficit.

Setting up before dark one evening, relaxing in my tent, I hear heavy footsteps coming toward me at a fast pace. Thump, thump, thump, heavy breathing then, “Hey can I stay here tonight?” I reply, “Sure.” Waking up the next day, there is a tent a little close to mine. As I am packing up a face emerges from the tent right next to me. This is how I met Cougar. Cougar got his name from, as he tells it, an encounter with a mountain lion. As he came around a turn in the trail, he startled one of the big cats and the alarmed cat ran towards him knocking him over as the feline made its escape. I personally feel his trail name should have been Cat Food instead of Cougar.

As the completion of my goal gets closer, my mind is torn between wanting to see friends and family and wanting to go on the next great adventure. My mind wonders already planning the next adventure. It becomes really difficult to think about going back to society, preparing to deal with more things then beautiful views. The thought process becomes overwhelming. Myhiking speed varies with my current thoughts; increasing with thoughts of loved ones only to decrease with the thought of returning to the daily grind. Which I have to admit for me isn’t that bad, but it lacks the utter freedom one has out here where the only limits seem to be the food and water clocks.”

Bend to Cascade Locks

Day 114 0 PCT miles – stayed in Bend,Or

Day 115 17 PCT miles – stayed at Linton Meadows

Day 116 22 PCT miles

Day 117 22 PCT miles

Day 118 31 PCT miles

Day 119 25 PCT miles

Day 120 18 PCT miles

Day 121 26 PCT miles

Day 122 8 PCT miles  stayed in Hood River

Day 123 0 Hood River

Day 124 0 PCT miles

Day 125 4 PCT miles – Back on the trail at Cascade Locks

Hiking through the most blowdown I have seen on the trail after leaving Crater Lake. My pace is greatly diminished by having to negotiate the maze caused by the huge trees. Massive giants covered in a green beard of Spanish moss. A majority of them could be bypassed by walking around the rootball that for some reason is right on the edge the the trail, but others involve problem solving and parkour moves to make it to the other side.

I was awakened by a weird noise! I immediately sucked in my breath and became very quiet, there is was again, what is that sound? It sounds familiar, but I can’t quite place it. It’s hard to think while holding your breath staining to hear into the night. As I slowly move my head lamp to my head, there it is again, but still can’t place it. I finally have to breath; I let out the breath I have been holding in a sudden woosh as I crawl out of my bag to investigate. Opening the zipper on my tent in a fluid motion while aiming my head lamp toward where I last heard the sound. As my eyes adjust to the light and focus on the object that was making the noise, my rapid breathing starts to slow down, as two eyes shine back at me. I recognize the familiar shape of a deer. It stared back at me, maybe as startled by me as I was by it, before returning to making the familiar sound of chomping on grass that I now completely recognized.

I went back into the tent. The deer continued chomping through the night completely unbothered by my presence.

Arriving at Elk Lake, I am met by Josh who has been busy shuttling hikers to Bend or Sisters as he waited for me. I had met Josh a couple years earlier when I cycled the Southern Tier.

We headed to Bend where I would stay with him in his tiny house. We had some beers and explored the town the next day. We floated the Deschutes River through town. I really like getting to spend time on the water, I have one more stop where I will get to kayak again before pushing on to finish the trail.

Back on the trial, I hike towards the Gorge .

I had the opportunity to hike through Eagle Creek before it burnt in 2017. The trail followed the creek revealing multiple waterfalls along the way.

Arriving at the Bridge of the Gods, I pass by the bridge that connects Oregon to Washington over the Columbia River. I get a coffee then head to a brewery to wait for my friend Grant to get off work.

Welcome to Oregon

Day 102 25 PCT miles – stayed at Sheep Camp Spring

Day 103 22 PCT miles – crossed the Oregon border today

Day 104 0 PCT miles – stayed at Medford

Day 105 11 PCT miles

Day 106 30 PCT miles

Day 107 29 PCT miles

Day 108 24 PCT miles

Day 109 31 PCT miles – Crater Lake

Day 110 32 PCT miles

Day 111 26 PCT miles

Day 112 33 PCT miles

The excitement of entering Oregon was only intensified by the fact that I was about to be met by some friends in the state and get a chance to go kayaking. It was a great mental hurdle to cross a state border, even though the passage of distance was marked by the changing ecosystem, increase in the odor my gear was emitting and the wearing out of three pairs of footwear,along with wonderful hiker made rock and stick mile markers. None of these milestones felt as good as crossing into Oregon.

I had made arrangements for Katie to pick me up at Callahan’s Lodge after consuming my first free beer, thanks from all the hikers, I had a margarita. I soon realized that I am even more of a light weight after having lost much of my body weight. She arrived and took me to her place, where I met her roommates dog Awesome. Yes his name is Awesome. We borrowed a kayak from her boyfriend. Thanks Linus! I then got the chance to boat with some of her friends. It was great to feel the boat on edge slicing through the water, my smile revealed after the cool refreshing water parts across my face as I come out the down river side of the hole.

After a great run we got pie at Beck’s outside of Crater Lake National Park where I would be hiking to again in a fews days. This became commonplace in Oregon. I would visit a friend only to spend days to walk back to somewhere I had been only hours away from. As a matter of fact before I got back on the trail, Katie took me to pick up a resupply box that I would be hiking towards later that day. We picked up a fellow hiker and dropped her off to pick up a package. I was rewarded with trail magic for not cheating and starting at the resupply spot. Just before I got to the spot I had picked up my package, I got a beer! If I would have skipped those few miles I would have never gotten to enjoy that particular beer!

This beer was redemption from near Truckee, CA where I spent the better part of the day looking for soda. I spotted a rest area so I headed that way only to be let down. There were pit toilets and on top of that no vending machine, everyone must be healthy here. There appeared to be more activity across the interstate. Not to be dissuaded, I decided to check out the other side. I mean I have hiked over a thousand miles what’s a few more! After a quick intense game of Frogger, with me in place of the frog dodging cars like in the video game, I emerged unflattened on the other side. I never managed that in the game. I managed to buy a small soda from a guy in an RV. I approached him saying I would buy a soda off him for $2, he said sure. He fished around in a side compartment on his RV and came out with this cute little can. I had no idea soda came in baby portions. I looked at the can with a frown as I dug the money out of my pocket. He saw my sad face and offered it to me for $1. If only he knew how I managed to get there he probably would have given it to me. I gulped….. I mean sipped and it was gone. I decided to cook lunch there. I ended up getting two full sized sodas, while making food! After that people started offering me all sorts of food. I was picky and only accepted some declining most of it. One couple got really upset and wondered about the nerve of some homeless people. I explained I wasn’t a bum and couldn’t justify carrying that much food. I had to make miles and in-fact yes I did chose to look and smell like this on purpose.

Arriving at Crater Lake again I still take in its beauty. I don’t think I have ever seen a bad photo of the lake. I plan to move to this area next year. Part of it is due to the beauty of this iconic place.

My Parents Come to Visit

Day 86 21 miles PCT

Day 87 0 miles PCT – stayed in Old Station

Day 88 0 miles PCT – actual 13 miles

Day 89 25 miles PCT

Day 90 26 miles PCT

Day 91 17 miles PCT

Day 92 30 miles PCT

Day 93 25 miles PCT

Day 94 16 miles PCT

Day 95 19 miles PCT

Day 96 31 miles PCT

Day 97 28 miles PCT

Day 98 9 miles PCT stayed in Etna

Day 99 24 PCT miles

Day 100 30 PCT miles stayed Seiad Valley

Day 101 18 PCT miles stayed at Pipe Cook Spring

My parents met me at Old Station, CA. I arrived before them and had indulged in ice cream and multiple sodas!

We hiked to Lassen Peak, where the view was amazing. They struggled a little bit to reach the peak. Mom stopped so I acted as her drill sergeant as she proceeded up the hill. I got a lot of mean looks, but she made it.

I hiked down ahead of them; took a nap in the car then hiked back up the trail, extra water in hand, until I saw them again.

Later they took me to Redding to get a new pair of shoes. I spent the equivalent of a months rent and some change on shoes. I ended up hiking in a variety of shoes over the thousands of miles covered to date. I ended up really liking the Salomon X Mission 3.

New shoes on my feet and belly full, I headed north to Crater Lake, where my parents will have been and long gone by the time I arrive by foot!

I stopped before Etna to stealth camp outside of town. I  was awakened to the sounds of crashing trees and chain saws. Itappears I camped very close to a logging operation.

Packing in a hurry I accidentally drop my plastic water bottle, it bounced once then fell over a cliff. When I set up in the dark, I didn’t realize I was that close to a drop off! It’s too steep to retrieve my bottle so I continued. Glad I was out of the dessert when I lost my water bottle!

Yosemite to South Lake Tahoe

Day 72 24 miles PCT – stayed at Mt Adventure Center

Day 73 .5 miles PCT – 8 actual miles, stayed in South Lake Tahoe

Day 74 11 miles PCT – 15 actual miles, stayed at Susie Lake

Day 75 28 miles PCT

Day 76 25 miles PCT

Day 77 24 miles PCT – actual 26 miles

Day 78 25 miles PCT – stayed outside of Sierra City

Day 79 19 miles PCT

Day 80 27 miles PCT

Day 81 21 miles PCT

Day 82 20 miles PCT

Day 83 15 miles PCT

Day 84 23 miles PCT – stayed outside of Chester

Day 85 22 miles PCT

This was my second time entering Yosemite Valley from extended stays in the wilderness. Both times made the experience reminiscent of Disney Land. The valley much more so than Tuolumne Meadows.

After a day catching up with people and the hike to Half Dome the granite was quickly replaced by lush vegetation.

I saw a brown lump by a rock. Thinking it was a bear cub, I quickly stopped and scanned the area for its parents. Seconds later to my relief a six point buck emerged from what I thought was a bear cub. The buck took form when it lifted its head to peer at me from its bent over position. It regarded me for a few seconds still chewing on whatever it was eating before it bounded away deciding I was more of a threat to it then it was to me. Bears were on my mind because shortly before this near Yosemite experience, a bear had crushed a guys electronics that he put in his Ursack with his food. He watched helplessly as the bear tried to get to his food. There’s one reason to hang your food!

Later, I excitedly passed the1000 mile mark. Not quite halfway, but it was still a great feeling of accomplishment! This accomplishment was quickly surpassed by the realization this might be the longest I have went without a shower!

The mosquitoes haven’t been as bad as they were on the AT, so far. With the exception of a bridge I ran across holding my breath. The blood thirsty bugs were so thick in the area, I was actually concerned about swallowing them. Luckily, I never saw that dense of population again in this hike.

I hitched to a Starbucks in Tahoe to get internet and feed my caffeine addiction!

While walking out of Starbucks I lifted my pack over my shoulder then made to buckle my sternum strap and half of it was missing. I looked right then I looked left. Took the backpack off and  looked around, spining in a complete circle. Nothing! I checked the back of my shirt, my pockets, back into Starbucks looking under the table. Fuck nothing! Now I spend the next half of the day trying to find a replacement. Success! One was found at the local backpacking shop. It was cheaper and better made than the replacement ones I found online.

Took a bus to a couple brewery’s after the buckle disaster. I watched some guy sit down by a little old lady with glasses and ask, “How are you?” She replied, “I was fine until you sat down beside me!”

”O ooh?”

Turning her head to glare at him she shouts, “You smell like smoke!”

Good thing I didn’t sit beside her, I probably smelled like BO!

After trying for a bit to hitch out of town, I decided to start hiking back to the trail. A truck with a tow behind RV pulled over and asked me some questions. I asked for a ride, they gave me one a short distance up the road. When they stopped and I tried to open the door and it wouldn’t open. They couldn’t figure out how to turn off the child locks. So just in case they were mass murderers trying to kidnap me, I rolled down the window and opened my own door! Next time, if they were mass murderers, maybe they will lock the rear window also. Shorty after getting out and saying my farewells to the possible incompetent mass murderers, a big white dully picked me up. The guy had a Fosters beer in the cup holder taking a swig after picking me up, I thought it was rude he didn’t offer me some.

Mammoth and After

Day 59 0 miles PCT – stayed near Mono Lake

Day 60 0 miles PCT -stayed near Mono Lake

Day 61 0 miles PCT – stayed at Agnew Meadow

Day 62 16 miles PCT – stopped early because of bear warning from book

Day 63 13 miles PCT -stayed at Yosemite

Day 64 0 miles PCT – 16 actual, stayed at JMT and Half Dome Trail junction

Day 65 0 miles PCT – 18 actual, hiked up Half Dome and down into Yosemite Valley stayed at Tuolumne Meadows

Day 66 17 miles PCT – stayed at Miller Lake

Day 67 18 miles PCT

Day 68 22 miles PCT – stayed at Cinko trail junction

Day 69 25 miles PCT

Day 70 24 miles PCT

Day 71 18 miles PCT


Samantha flew out to visit, so I took a break in Mammoth where as one should know the best beer is. It might have been the altitude, but after tasting a sampler I commented to the bar tender how great the beer was. He looked at me pointed towards the wall and said,  “I know.” If I had bothered to pay attention to the decor I would have saw the many awards for the beer advertised on said wall. Well who knew… everyone that pays attention!


Since we had transportation faster than my feet, we went to a couple breweries. We even got to check out a comedy show in Mammoth. The headliner was Rubin Paul. They must not be able to handle their alcohol in Mammoth; two people broke there wine glasses out of less than 100 people, I am guessing, in the venue. For once I was nowhere near the drunkest person! However, in all fairness I did have a sturdier pint glass.

After a second day enjoy925ing the best beer I have had to date, we drove to Yosemite Valley where I ended up spending most of the break. On my break I got to hike 14 miles up to Clouds Rest then 21 miles of trail that I will hike again in a few days once I get back on the PCT in Mammoth and hike back to Yosemite. Yes, I just love being an overachiever. No seriously I was totally tricked into hiking that much, I actually wanted to just eat and stay in an air conditioned room. To my delight I did get a day of laying around and drinking, the only draw back was it was in the sun at a lake beach instead of in a/c.


Went to the Wow Nelly Deli after the big hike and split 3 dinners well we gave it our best college try anyway,  ended up with leftovers for breakfast. You should listen to the Dirtbag Diaries podcast “episode 147 The Mobile” to get the full vision of the Wow Nelly Deli located in the Mobile Gas Station.

After my break it took me two days to hike back to Yosemite. I was limited to how many miles I could do because I was trying to avoid bears. According to the literature I should stay well above the valley then hike out of the other side at least 15 miles.

In highly used areas there are normally problem “animals'”. The problem in my opinion is actually the humans that feed these animals’ causing them to become habituated to easy food. Please don’t feed the cute bear.


Samantha and I had tried to get a permit to hike up Half Dome, but there is this stupid lottery system to protect our natural resources. Someone made it so most of the overused areas are super accessible then decided there was too much use so the use of the area was limited. Just take away the easy access and I bet you won’t need the lottery system anymore and the resource will be better protected. Rant over! Anyway I managed to get a permit with my winning personality once I arrived in Yosemite via foot this time.


Mammoth, CA Where The Best Beer Is

Day 47 0 miles PCT – 4.4 actual miles, stayed in Independence CA

Day 48 0 miles PCT – 1 actual mile, stayed in Independence, CA

Day 49 10 miles PCT – 18 actual miles, stayed at Arrowhead Lake

Day 50 16 mils PCT – stayed at Southfork of Kings River

Day 51 15 miles PCT – stayed at Palisade Creek

Day 52 12.28 miles PCT – stayed at the Muir Hut on Muir pass

Day 53 20.5 miles PCT – 22 actual miles, stayed above Muir Ranch

Day 54 19 miles PCT – stayed by Mono Creek Bridge

Day 55 13 miles PCT – stayed atVirginia Lake

Day 56 17.76 miles PCT – actual slightly less lots of trail crossing to get to beer! Stayed right outside of Devils Postpile National Monument

Day 57 7 miles PCT – stayed in Mammoth

Day 58 0 miles PCT – stayed in Mammoth

My shin splints became unbearable! I took a few days off at the hostel in Independence. We watched a lot of the history channel. It’s  amazing how much stuff was accomplished by ancient aliens! We entertained ourselves making fun of the history channel for a while!

After resting my shin, I headed back to it. Luckily there was snow everywhere so I could ice my shin almost anywhere. On one of the occasions when I was doing just that by a river, out of nowhere a coyote emerged 20 ft away and walked by me. It didn’t know I was was there so it was in no hurry. It disappeared into the woods farther down the trail. Little simple amazing things like this make all the pain and effort worth it!

Took a short cut down Glen Pass by glissading. As I was sliding down the hill, I noticed that a boulder was growing into view rather quickly with no visible run out between me and an increasing number of large boulders! I had to rollover and weight the ice axe to come to a stop. I smashed my left hand on a rock as I was trying to gain purchase with the axe. I managed to stop shortly after I smashed my hand. I then traversed the run out, kicking in steps as I crossed the drop off between me and the trail. Overall, I think it would have been just as fast to hike the trail after putting on and taking off my crampons and having to traverse back to the trail, but the slide was way more fun!

The section of the trail that mirrors the JMT is amazingly beautiful. After every pass, lakes turned into waterfalls leading to the next lake. The only downfall was at the bottom of the passes there were mosquitos lying in wait! The day I descended from Muir Pass was especially beautiful, lots of rivers flowing in pine forests. I stoped at Virginia Lake early because I was tired. It was a great decision, as I got to observe a beautiful sunset over the lake, sun reflection of snow covered mountains only intensified the visual experience.

I have climbed a little over 90,000 ft since I left the desert ….. Miles ago!!!

PCT South Sierras

Day 38   4 PCT miles

Day 39 10 PCT miles

Day 40 21 PCT miles

Day 41 19 PCT miles

Day 42 16 PCT miles

Day 43 0 PCT miles – 18 actual miles, climbed Mt. Whitney

Day 44 0 PCT miles

Day 45 18 PCT miles

Day 46 0 PCT miles – 4 actual

On my third night in the Sierras, it started to thunder storm. I had taken some Advil PM, so when I awoke I was surprised so see snow covering my tent. While I was out, apparently it had hailed then snowed. The next day it thundered and snowed/hailed most of the day. I made it to the approach for Mt. Whitney near dark; cold and covered in snow. I set up and went to sleep.

I got an early start the next day, not because I was super motivated to climb Mt. Whitney in the morning but because the people who were motivated happened to be extremely loud. I tried for an hour to go back to sleep but ended up heading up Mt. Whitney about 4:30 a.m.

My leg had started hurting the day before and halfway up Mt. Whitney sharp pain evolved. I kept going because I wanted to get to the top of the tallest mountain in the continental U.S. When I got to the top, there was a day hiker that had hypothermia. Luckily for him, he stumbled by a couple of thru hikers. It had stormed, hailed and snowed for the last two days. Apparently the day hiker got separated from his friends and the thru hikers drug him up to the summit where there was a shelter. The phone reception on top of Mt. Whitney would go in and out. A phone call got out about the time I got to the top early the next morning. They flew in a helicopter and evacuated the guy. He was lucky the thru hikers decided to go up because a lot of summiteers turned around the day before.

My leg hurt so badly by the time I descended Whitney, I knew I had to rest.  I didn’t think I could make it to town with my remaining food. Town is about 30 miles away and I had just over a day’s worth of food. Luckily for me a lot of hikers were here because of the storm and they wanted to summit Mt. Whitney, they pitched in and gave me food! That meant a lot because they probably didn’t have a lot to start with. That night at some point I couldn’t open my eyes for more than three seconds without them going shut. This was accompanied by severe pain. This lasted for over a day. I managed to keep them open long enough to select an audio book on my phone, the light from the screen caused even more pain. The book started and the title I had blindly picked was “We Die Alone.” Luckily, I could see later the next day.

After resting for a day and a half, I had to get moving because of my food situation. I came to the bottom of Forester Pass, it looked like I needed to use crampons and an ice axe but I was really cold and wanted to keep moving. About a quarter of the way up the slope, I pulled out my ice axe. Too lazy to put on crampons, I keep going. The howling wind would force me to the side every step I took blowing pebbles and snow into my face. My shin was in a lot of pain due to a combination of kicking into the snow on the way up the slope, the wind making me stumble, and the occasional postholing at the edge of the snow pack.  I had to glissade down part of the back of Forester Pass. You could not see the trail; I was following others tracks for most of the climb. Once the tracks separated and I chose the wrong set having to back track. The next morning I woke up to an ice covered tent. I stayed in my bag until 11 a.m. or so since I only had 10 miles to go into a town. Once in town I took a few days off resting my leg and hydrating at a brewery.