top of page

NORTHERN SIERRA AND THE FINISH LINE

Jack and I have been home in Portland for about a month. We finished the 2650 mile PCT journey October 22nd, almost six months after we began this past Spring. You might recall we began at the Mexico-California border and when we reached the Sierra Nevada Range, after 700 miles, we decided the record snow, ice, and high rivers, were not worth the risk. We exited the Sierra and hitched multiple rides 550 miles north to Chester, California to bypass the danger. Chester is an unassuming small town located about 125 miles northwest of Reno. From there we hiked to the Canada-Washington border, then went back to the Sierra to complete the last 550 mile leg, finishing our journey in Chester. It was an amazing six months.


Courtesy of Jack.


My feet still ache and are partially numb from the balls of my feet forward. Sadly my badge of honor has been shaved from my face. My body and mind craves moving and being in nature. I haven't gotten use to all the noise and extra stimulation. I miss my buddy that was within earshot for six months, 24/7. Just like planning for the PCT, there is no way to plan for re-entry into "normal life". I miss the trail life, the camaraderie, the scenery, the adventure. I miss concurring the next pass, the 36 mile water carry, making it through fire zones, and fording rivers.


It was dirty and gross at times but I loved it. The left bottom photo was taken about a week into the trail. The bottom center photo was taken in the desert about 600 miles in, and the right photo was taken outside of Chester, or at mile 2,650, where we finished.


In order to give due respect to the Sierra I posted the last blog covering the Southern Sierra. These photos are of the Northern Sierra, then to Chester. I'll make another blog post in a few weeks to summarize the entire journey and share reflections.



Finally, some flat terrain!





Courtesy of Jack.


During the last month the daylight was scarce and time was short. I ended up cowboy camping (without a tent) to save time and because by the time we got to camp, usually the sun had been down for a good hour, making it cold and desirable to get into the sleeping bag ASAP. Also, the summer and weekender hikers were long gone and many of the PCTers decided not to go back to the Sierra making the trails sparce with people and it was much less social than the previous months on the trail.


This was the North side of Sonora Pass and the last snow field we experienced.


We finally scored a ride to Kennedy Meadows North after waiting patiently for an hour or so with our thumbs out in the early morning cold.


Incredible beauty everywhere. It didn't seem to stop. Even the burnouts were beautiful in their own way.


Ranger, Mac, and Ants finished at Donner Ski Ranch, while Root (second from the left) had another 85 miles to finish in Chester, as we did. Root had an quick smile and hearty laugh that was contagious.



Beer and well deserved Oregon and Oregon State football games were welcomed after hiking our personal best 62 miles in 32 straight hours. We needed to reach the Donner Pass Post Office to pick up our resupply package with new shoes and food before it closed Friday, otherwise we would have had to hang out in town for an extra two days with zeros.


A forest fire surprised us when we reached the crest of this hill. In the morning the smoke shifted and we knew we were safe. It made for a little excitement and a gorgeous sunset.




The last mile.


After all the beauty in the Sierra, ending at Highway 36 in a burnout, was anticlimactic, but we were greatfull for the journey and felt accomplished... and a little sad to know we were at the end of a special adventure together.


Proud dad. Thank you to Jack and my wife for all her support, logistics, care, and love. Jack brought me home in one piece as he promised his mother.


The last hitch, into the small town of Chester. A bus ride to Reno, and a walk to the Reno airport.

Sunset Views_edited.jpg

Join the Journey

Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page