I spent the last three months hiking through the California wilderness. Some notes and photos from the trail.
I spent the last three months hiking through California, mostly on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Between the trail’s southern terminus near the Mexican border, to the small town in Jefferson where I began my journey back south, I walked about 1,700 miles1
(1,670 miles on the PCT from the southern terminus at Campo to the top of the hill near Seiad Valley) + (15 miles from Crabtree Meadow to the top of Mt. Whitney and back) + (30 miles from Tuolumne Meadows into Yosemite Valley via Clouds Rest and Halfdome) - (3 miles because of the logging road shortcut I took going into Castella instead of the official PCT) = ~1,712 miles× Close
The trail was an experience like no other. I met all sorts of fascinating people, savored countless breathtaking views, and enjoyed the gracious hospitality of charming trail towns I passed along the way.
While I’m not planning on hiking any further this summer2
I needed to spend at least 323 days in California this year in order to qualify for in-state tuition at UCLA. Hiking the PCT northbound seemed like a great way to keep me far enough away from airports to ensure I would hit that number (unfortunately, continuing my hike further would defeat my original purpose).× Close
, there are still about 1,000 more miles of the PCT left for me through Oregon and Washington. I’m wishing the best to my fellow northbound hikers on their way to the Canadian border, and I look forward to when I can return and finish the trail myself.
A few people have asked me whether I learned anything from my time on trail (having spent so much time in the wilderness and such, I guess). While at this point I could probably go on and on about the minutiae of backpacking3
I met so many experienced backpackers on trail who suggested ways for me to optimize my pack and shed unnecessary weight, especially early on. They helped me shake my carry down to a much more reasonable set of essentials, and I learned a ton from them!× Close
or some of the finer points of California geography…
…to be honest, most of it can be picked up pretty fast after the first few days of hiking (there’s no teacher like experience).
So instead, to keep this brief, here are what I’d consider to be my three most important learnings:
Shoutout to my fellow Wissahickon alumnus Nimay Godbole for inspiring me to hike in the first place — best of luck in your final push to Canada!