Southern California Wrap-Up & Stats


I finished the desert portion of the PCT!

A beautiful lupine, one of many in the later portion of Southern California.

I apologize for not keeping up to date with the blog here. Walking 15+ miles per day is surprisingly time and energy consuming.

But I do promise to catch up with the trail updates down the road. I have kept good notes of everyday on trail and have so many pictures and thoughts to share when I get the time (and the cell service).

703 Miles Down

For now, I wanted to let you all know that I finished up the Southern California section of the PCT back on May 10th. The PCT is split into 5 main sections, of which Southern California is the longest at 703.4 miles. So it felt really good to walk into Kennedy Meadows knowing that I had already accomplished such a feat.

I largely enjoyed my time in Southern California. I have gotten very used to the everyday routine of waking up, walking, eating, filtering water, bumping into my friends on the trail, and then making camp all over again.

Links, Wavy, Hard Start, Prick, & Wolverine – some of the friends that made Southern California so special.

Highlights, for me, mainly have to do with the people I was able to spend time with and get to know. A few of the characters I met early on, like Thor, Alex (later “Prick”), and Hard Start – so you’ve already seen them in my trail updates. You’ll have to look forward to getting to know my other friends here soon.

Slow & Steady 

On the trail miles side of things, I want to point out that my longest day in the whole section was 22.3 miles. To other thru-hikers reading this, that may not sound like much. I’m here to say that you can move relatively fast, keep up or even get ahead of the crowd, by keeping a steady pace – even if you don’t have huge mile days to show for it.

But I get that it’s hard to not constantly compare yourself to others. I have friends who pulled 25+ milers regularly. A couple of them are ahead of me now, but more of them are actually behind me because they needed more zeros to recover. 

There’s a section of Southern California along the aqueduct and windmills that is famous for night hiking because it is relatively flat and often hot. Some of my trail friends decided to do a 24 hour challenge in this section. They ended up hiking around 35-40 miles that day.

No desire to night hike along the aqueduct in these conditions.

I actually had a terrible chest cough at that time and had no desire to night hike it, so I have no impressive mileage numbers like them to show off. 

But even after all this, according to the annual Halfway Anywhere PCT survey, it took 2023 thru-hikers an average of 48 days to complete Southern California. So I’m pretty proud of my 46 days. 

I’m not worried that my longest day was only 22.3 miles. I feel very accomplished and proud of myself for the speed at which I completed Southern California, and that I completed it at all. 

Enough rambling, here are the stats! 

Total days: 46

Average mileage/day: 15.0

Zeros: 3 (Julian, Idyllwild, Wrightwood)

Near-os: 5 (<10 miles)

Number of people met: 137 (2.9/day)

First week avg: 6.8/day

Last week avg: 2.7/day

Longest day: 22.3 miles

Number of beers consumed: 43 

Longest food carry: 6 days (Big Bear > Wrightwood 103.2 miles & Wrightwood > Green Valley 108.9 miles) 

Longest water carry: 20 miles

Total number of food resupplies: 9

Organizing my resupply from the gas station in Green Valley.

Favorite trail town: Wrightwood

Number of rattlesnakes seen: 4

Trail magic received: 6!

Boulder oaks, Bad Santa, I-10 bridge, Todd at the Ranger station, Craig and the Scamper, Mike from Ridgecrest

Lunch with a new friend, Mike, in Ridgecrest.

Cheers to Southern California, now it’s into the Sierras! 

Affiliate Disclosure

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.

Comments 3

  • Travis Taylor : Jun 8th

    Thanks for the update. There’s a lot to be said for your backpacking style. You found a pace that works for you and is sustainable. It makes no sense to put in a hard 30+ mile day when it shuts you down for two days for recovery. You will also enjoy it more. Keep up the great work.

  • Nephi : Jun 8th

    Enjoyed the stats. I haven’t seen a post like that yet. Funny. What’s the beer to snake ratio?

  • Kathy Franke : Jun 28th

    Enjoyed all your posts and they suddenly stopped, no explanation. Did something happen…haven’t seen post since 6/8


What Do You Think?