PCT 2013

During my first thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, in 2013, I wrote a blog post for each day. I’ve since written a book about that hike, called Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart. You can see the book on Amazon here.

Amazon makes a free app that will allow you to read the book on any screen- kindle app

Since the book has been released, I’ve removed most of the content of the original blog posts, in order to protect the privacy of some of the hikers in the book and also per my content agreement with Amazon. I’ve left the daily mileages and the photographs in each post, however, so you’re welcome to check those out. I’ve also left the posts I wrote after the trail.

Thanks for reading!

My PCT 2013 gear list
My post-trail review of all my gear
The food I ate on the PCT
My public service announcement to the PCT class of 2014

Part one: THE DESERT (Southern California to Mile 700, Kennedy Meadows)
Day 1: Campo to Lake Morena
Day 2: Lake Morena to Cibbets Campground
Day 3: Tendonitis of Doom
Day 4: Magic Trail Angels are Magical
Day 5: Fish Tacos and the Wheel of Life
Day 7: The Anza-Borrego Desert of Beauty
Day 8: The Brutal Desert is Brutal
Day 9: No Sleep Til Warner Springs
Day 10: Cheap Soda Springs and the Longest Mile
Day 11: Warner Springs and the Burger that Was (Almost) Everything
Day 12: Heat, Fatigue, and Warm Potato Salad
Day 13: Nance Canyon to a Few Miles Outside Paradise
Day 14: Wherein the Brutality We Hadn’t Anticipated Becomes Real
Day 15: Angry on the Mountain and Idyll Idyll Idyllwild
Day 16: Eat all the Things: A Zero in Idyllwild
Day 17: A Nero and a Winter Wonderland
Day 18: The Two Sides of the Mountain
Day 19: Crossing the Windy Valley of the Dark Lord
Day 20: Our First Swim!
Day 21: Sad Grizzlies and a Very Good Beer
Day 22: A Nero in Big Bear
Day 23: Wherein I Find my Stride
Day 24: What’s the Antonym for Disappointment?
Day 25: Rattlesnakes and Rootbeer Floats
Day 26: The Intergalactic Space Station of Cheeseburgers
Day 27: Mountaintopitis
Day 28: A Zero in Wrightwood
Day 29: Baden-Powell and the Gaiter Fairy
Day 30: Vomiting Yay!
Day 31: Takin it Eeeeeeeeeeeasy
Day 32: KOA Stands for Heaven
Day 33: The Saufley’s is a Magical Paradise of Wonder and Relaxation
Day 34: Hawaiian-Themed House Parties of the Pacific Crest Trail
Day 35: Loneliness and Other Questions that Have no Answers
Day 36: Magic Water and the Calm Before the Storm
Day 37: Hikertown and Crossing the Mojave on the Los Angeles Aquaduct
Day 38: Get Me the Fuck off this Mountain
Day 39: Why Sleep When You Can Write? A Zero in Mojave
Day 40: Back on the Trail
Day 41: Heat, Heat, Heat and Finally- Friends
Day 42: Heat Waves- of Joy
Day 43: No Water Anywhere and then, Everything
Day 44: A Random Zero in a Wonderful Place
An Extra Post All About Footwear
Day 45: Another Day in Paradise
Day 46: Disappointment and Anticipation

Part 2: THE SIERRA NEVADA (Kennedy Meadows to Northern California)
Day 47: Kennedy Meadows of Happiness
Day 48: The Promised Land
Day 49:  Up, Up, Up
Day 50: Lake!
Day 51: Short Miles to a Happy Place
Day 52: Forester Pass of Magic
Day 53: Kearsarge Pass and Lone Pine
Day 54: A Zero in Bishop
Day 55: Back up Over the Pass
Day 56: One Day, Two Passes
Day 57: Beauty and Hardship in Equal Measure
Day 58: O Kingdom my Kingdom
Day 59: Hot Springs
Day 60: Making it
Day 61: Red’s Meadow
Day 62: Dentists and Sour Patch Straws: a Zero in Mammoth Lakes
Day 63: Mammoth Day Two
Day 64: Leaving Red’s Meadow
Day 65: Water, Water Everywhere
Day 66: Yosemite Magic
Day 67: Yosemite Swimming Holes and Other Wonderful Things
Day 68: Onward!
Day 69: Mosquitoes and Gentle Passes
Day 70: The Hour of the Mosquito
Day 71: Triumph

Day 72: Bridgeport!
Day 73: Things are Looking Up
Day 74: The Unkempt Flower Gardens of Desolation Wilderness
Day 75: Fruit Salad and Distant Explosions
Day 76: Tahoe No Bueno
Day 77: Zero in Tahoe
Day 78: Pretty Lakes and Feeling Fast
Day 79: More Beautiful Beauty in the Land of Amazing Magic
Day 80: Trail Magic and Spooky-Cool Shelters
Day 81: Lost Springs and Verbal Driving Lessons
Day 82: If There Was a Town on Big Rock Candy Mountain, It’d be Called Sierra City
Day 83: Leaving Sierra City
Day 84: Mountain Bikers and Boring Third Growth
Day 85: Crazy Deer is Crazy
Day 86: Hot Road Walks and PMM
Day 87: Oh Belden and the Glory of the Braatens
Day 88: Slow and Humid and Slow
Day 89: Halfway to Nowhere Never Felt so Good
Day 90: Drakesbad Guest Ranch
Day 91: Ass-Chafe and Laundry-Room Bunkbeds
Day 92: Hat Creek Rim in a Heatwave
Day 93: Burney
Day 94: I Want to be Faster
Day 95: Dark Logging Roads and Giant, Sadistic Housecats
Day 96: Hot, Sweaty Climbs and Long, Leafy Descents
Day 97: Double Rainbow all the Way
Day 98: The Thirteenth Crystal Skull: a Zero in Mt. Shasta
Day 99: Climbing and the Infinite Wisdom of Yogi Tea Bags
Day 100: Smoke Jumpers and the Validation of Little Blonde Girls
Day 101: The Calm Before the Storm
Day 102: The Hiker’s Hut
Day 103: Holy Smokes! A Zero in Etna
Day 104: Day 104: The Light Show
Day 105: Down, Down, Down to the Seiad Valley
Day 106: The Road

Part 4: OREGON
Day 107: Burnin’ Up and a Video of Coyote Noises!
Day 108: Dr. Google and Ashland Overwhelm
Day 109: A Foggy Zero in Ashland
Day 110: Icecream, Resupply Boxes and a Return to the Trail
Day 111: The Moving Sidewalk is Real
Day 112: Third-Growth Lodgepole Pine Forests and Other Things That Make Me Sad
Day 113: What If.
Day 114: Crater Lake
Day 115: Falling Off the Moving Sidewalk
Day 116: Missing
Day 117: What Is It That We Wanted
Day 118: Cake Hangovers
Day 119: Woodland Aid-Station Buffets and the Redundancy of Beautiful Lakes
Day 120: Three Sisters Wilderness of Joy and Magic
Day 121: No No No No No
Day 122: Return to the Land of Lava
Day 123: What Even Goes There
Day 124: Don’t Wash Me Away
Day 125: What Do I Need Right Now
Day 126: Night Hiking to Timberline Lodge
Day 127: Timberline Lodge Buffet of Magic
Day 128: Vamos al Rio Columbia!
Day 129: Chihuahuas, Ethiopian Food and Glorious, Velveteen Naps: A Zero in Portland
Day 130: Eating, Eating, Eating: A Zero in Cascade Locks

Day 131: The Way it Should Be
Day 132: Foot Gratitude and Shoveling Glucose
Day 133: Steinpilze
Day 134: Trout Lake and Twin Ships
Day 135: Dusty Calves and Rhetorical Questions for the Stars
Day 136: Every. Single. Night.
As-Promised Photos of Goat Rocks
Day 137: Seek the Mystery and Stuff
Day 138: The Grove of the Patriarchs
Day 139: It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if  I Want To
Day 140: Salvation
Day 141: Abandoned Weather Stations and an Abundance of Trail Magic
Day 142: Sand Legs, Naughty Hikers and Silent Movies
Day 143: Hike Hike Hike
Day 144: Keep Up
Day 145: The Accidental Bushwhacking Alternate
Day 146: The Only Way Out is Thru
Day 147: Salvation, Thy Name is Ten Speed
Day 148: 2 Pumped 2 Sleep and Goodbye Sunshine Hello Rain
Day 149: What It’s Like to Not Have Fingers
Day 150: Abe Lincoln, a Bear, and a Race Car Driver, Respectively
Day 151: Hunger
Day 152: Freakin’ Stehekin: A Zero in Paradise
Day 153: Climbing in the Glutenfog
Day 154: Suffering and Magic in Equal Measure
Day 155: …And Then There Was Snow
Day 156: Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart

After the trail: Hitching Back Into the U.S.
After the trail: Home and other abstract concepts
After the trail: The return of the existential despair
After the trail: November in 1,357 words


9 thoughts on “PCT 2013

  1. …Counting down…
    It usually makes me happy with anticipation…
    Counting down the days til vacation…
    Counting down the days til my kid comes home from college…
    Counting down the days til I’m back in my lover’s strong embrace…
    Carrot, please.
    This is too painful.
    I don’t like this list.
    THE END?

  2. Hoop Dreams pointed me toward your blog, and I’m glad she did – the writing is amazing. I am now going to sit here and consume it all, trying not lose myself in a feast of joy and loss.

  3. Another heart-breaker is reaching the end of your PCT 2013 blog! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your experience with us!

    I ran across your blog researching whether I should wear Brooks Cascadias on my JMT hike this summer. I read a couple of your posts from the Sierras and realized I had to go back to the beginning and read every post from Mexico to Canada. You are such a beautiful writer…can’t wait for the book!

    And needless to say…I’ll be wearing Cascadias this summer! 🙂

  4. I was up late again last night reading your PCT 2013 blog. My son turned me on to it. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. It’s been a while since I was so thoroughly addicted. Thank you so very much for putting it out there. Best wishes…

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