I started the PCT in 2016 where I left off in 2014 – at Walker Pass.
I’d been here once before. In 1976 my brother and I, not long out of high school, decided we would hike the brand-new PCT from Walker to Lake Tahoe. We saved our money, bought a small mountain of Rich-Moor dehydrated meals plus a stack of USGS topo maps and plotted our route.
The first PCT thru-hike had been accomplished just a few years before by Eric Ryback (or perhaps Rich Watson, Ryback has been accused of hitch-hiking some sections).
The trail was not a smooth continuous track then, but an amalgam of logging roads, cattle driveways and single-track. We started up one such cattle driveway, steep and waterless, west of the present route and popped out on a heavily forested (and logged) plateau. At some point I tore a cartilage in my knee. Loath to give up a trip I had been planning for a year, I hobbled along, but a day of postholing down from Forrester Pass did me in and we bailed out at Onion Valley.
It was 40 years – almost to the day – before I made it back to Walker Pass. But I did make it back. You can read about the hike in TrailGroove Magazine here, or check out the slideshow below. I’ve also posted my trail journal for a day-by-day perspective.