This year we undertook our latest adventure: hiking in California, Arizona, and Washington in what we called Trekking the U.S. West. During our three treks, we hiked 550 miles. At the conclusion of each hike we made short summary videos.
In the last two weeks and 246 miles of hiking, we gained over 45,000 feet and lost over 43,000 feet in elevation. While my heel had been hurting since we left the Columbia River and Darren had occasional calf issues, we both felt rested after spending a day and a half in Seattle.
After 82 miles of hiking and a rest day in Trout Lake, Washington, we were ready to continue our journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. The next section would take us alongside the iconic mountains of Adams and Rainier, as well as through the Goat Rocks Wilderness, considered one of the most scenic portions of the entire 2,650-mile trail.
In April 2016 we began hiking the Pacific Crest Trail north from the Mexican border. Our goal was to hike the entire trail in one year, but after 1,828 miles we stopped at the Columbia River in Oregon. A little over 1,000 days later, we stood at the same location, ready to pick up where we left off.
When we emerged from our rim-to-rim trek through the Grand Canyon it was cold and windy, and there was too much snow on the ground for us to hike on the Arizona Trail (AZT). We had 76 more trail miles to reach the red cliffs of the Utah border and a shuttle pick-up there in 4 1/2 days’ time.
After six days and 103 miles of hiking the Arizona Trail from Flagstaff, Arizona, we arrived at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim only to be confronted with an adverse weather report. Once we hiked down, we had to come back up. The question was where – the South Rim or the North Rim?
During our first week hiking along the northern-most section of the Arizona Trail, we passed through a ranch area along winding dirt roads. It is a relatively dry terrain, and much of our daily distance was dictated by the availability of water sources.
As we prepare for our Trekking the U.S. West adventure this summer, we have been focused on our gear. Taking into account the lessons we learned from hiking the PCT three years ago, we have strived to review every backpacking item to lighten our load. If we aren’t going to use something extensively, it stays home.
With our goal of finishing the entire PCT in 2019, we decided to complete a missing piece of trail that we needed to detour around three years ago. It is a challenging section, climbing over 7,000 feet in elevation from the desert sand to the forest snow.
Sandy introduces this year’s adventure – 1,000 miles of trekking in the Western United States on the Pacific Crest Trail and Arizona Trail!