Our Next Journey – The Pacific Crest Trail!


Sandy provides an update on Trekking the Planet’s next journey!

Twenty years ago, in September 1996, Darren and I backpacked in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, hiking the 46-mile Rae Lakes Loop in Kings Canyon National Park. We got caught in a snowstorm and encountered fierce winds over the 11,978 foot Glen Pass, but had a wonderful time trekking though some of the most incredible scenery in the world. We both love to hike and camp, and that trip was the precursor of many other trekking adventures to come, including New Zealand, Switzerland, India and Peru. The culmination of our hiking was our Trekking the Planet around the world (RTW) expedition, where we trekked in 12 of the most culturally and naturally significant places in the world. Now, our focus has turned back to the United States and to our next adventure.

On April 17, 2016 we will begin hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). It runs 2,650 miles from the Mexican Border in California to the Canadian Border in Washington. One of the best-known trails in the United States, the PCT is a National Scenic Trail and part of the triple crown of the Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail.


The PCT is unique in that it covers a variety of terrain while traveling through California, Oregon and Washington. The trail goes through several distinct geographic regions, including alpine tundra, subalpine forest and desert. In addition to its traverse through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, the PCT snakes through 700 miles of desert and over 50 mountain passes, crossing 24 national forests and 33 wilderness areas. The trail’s elevation ranges from 180 feet to over 13,000 feet. This year is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and we are excited to pass through seven national parks during our journey (Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, Crater Lake, Mount Rainier and North Cascades). And in Kings Canyon National Park, the PCT will travel on a 12.5 mile portion of the Rae Lakes Loop that we completed 20 years ago.

Ansel Adams Wilderness, California - by Steve Dunleavy from Lake Tahoe, NV, United States (Uploaded by Hike395, CC BY 2.0) https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22262608
Ansel Adams Wilderness, California – by Steve Dunleavy from Lake Tahoe, NV, United States – (Uploaded by Hike395, CC BY 2.0), https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22262608

We plan to cover an average of 16 miles a day and be at the Canadian border on about October 1. We need to time our arrival in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to occur when the majority of snow has melted (hopefully by mid-June). Conversely, we want to finish our time in Washington’s Cascade Mountains in the early fall in order to avoid any major snowfall there. But, with any long-distance trip, we expect the unexpected and will plan accordingly.

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=327692
Mt Hood Wilderness, Oregon (CC BY-SA 3.0), https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=327692

While trekking, we plan to provide updates via our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds. This will be highly dependent on cell phone service, which will be especially problematic in the mountains. Unfortunately, because of sporadic cell phone service, we will not be publishing any education modules or newsletters while we are hiking. Through our social media updates, our hope is that we can provide a feel of what it is like to be on the trail and our discoveries along the way. So check back often to keep updated about our latest journey!

By Marshmallow from Seattle, WA, USA - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=389216
Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington – by Marshmallow from Seattle, WA, USAFlickr, (CC BY 2.0), https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=389216

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3 thoughts on “Our Next Journey – The Pacific Crest Trail!

  1. Oleg Chaikovsky Reply

    Sounds so great. Reminds me of the hiking trip I took across the Jasper mountains with scouts in the 70s. Three days roughing it in August and it was still freezing at night. Look forward to the great reports. Good luck!

  2. Mitch Reply

    I wanna go I wanna go I wanna go, I’m going. Not the whole thing I’m not that out of my mind. If I knew which peaks you plan to include on the 6 moon trail I could hike with you guys for 2 days and a night. Does it include stopping at high or low camp of San Gorgonio or San Jacinto? Where does the PCT go around Ojai or Sespe Condor Sanctuary? I’m quite familiar with those areas as well. Have fun. post lots of pictures. Thank you for finishing the book. I got my Kindle copy.

    • Darren Van Soye Reply

      Hey Mitch! Thanks for the vote of support (or condolences depending on your perspective). Yes. The route does go near San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. Unfortunately, it does not go near Ojai or Sespe Condor Sanctuary. If you would like to view the overview and detailed maps of our route, click here: https://www.pctmap.net/maps-url-loading/

      You’re more than welcome to join us for a day or two. However, we are planning on taking it a day at a time and thus we won’t know exactly where we will be staying until the night before or that afternoon when we stop for the day. When we get close, my recommendation would be to shoot us an email. We should have cell phone service in the mountains that surround LA for sure. After that, it will be hit and miss.

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