I’ve Finished the Backbone Trail… What’s Next?
Last month, I completed my solo thru hike of California’s Backbone Trail. This ~70 mile trek was my first thru hike, and it was a challenge to complete, especially solo. However, despite how challenging it was, somewhere along the way, I found myself falling deeply in love with thru hiking and long distance backpacking.
So, now that I’ve reached the Western Terminus, what’s next for me?
One Last Winter Expedition
My backpacking story started with a hike that was far too difficult for my first backpacking trip: a 20 mile out and back in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. I was freshly injured–a knee injury that came as the result of a steep descent down Cooper Spur in Northern Oregon–and I had no business going on the trip in the first place. I cried the last two miles and swore I’d never backpack again.
Now, three years later, backpacking is my career. As I write this, I’m prepping to lead a 55 mile, 10 day expedition for students as an outdoor educator and wilderness expedition leader. It’s going to be rainy, but I’m glad I have the Backbone Trail behind me going into this because I truly know what hikers are capable of.
My job as a guide will continue into the summer in the Cascades up north. Summer trips will be mostly day trips, but I’m excited to show visitors our beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Future Thru Hikes
As summer quickly approaches, so does backpacking season. I’ve applied for permits, and moved to my dream location: the Pacific Northwest. There are a few hikes I’m hopeful to score permits for this season, mostly the Wonderland Trail and the Enchantments, both in Washington.
A thru hike that doesn’t require permits that I will be attempting this year no matter what, is the 400 mile Oregon Coast Trail. My OCT thru hike attempt will start in Mid-September and I’m planning for about 45 days on trail in order to navigate the need to sleep at (mostly) established campgrounds. I’ve chosen a later start date for this trek because I will have a hiking partner this time around: my 6 year old Border-Heeler mix named Lassen. There are restrictions on dogs throughout the summer season, so we’ll be hitting the trail once restrictions lift.
I’m so grateful for the opportunities I have right now to pursue these trails and take myself on bigger adventures than I’ve ever attempted before. I can’t wait to keep pursuing wilder and wilder places.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.