Trail Update Number Three

One of the many vistas on the trail. Near Spanish Needles Creek.

Desert Reflections

After forty-nine days in the desert, I am in Kennedy Meadows! It has thus far been quite an adventure, full of adventure, surprises, ups and downs. Things haven’t happened how I expected which has been both frustrating and amazing. In my last post, I focused more on some of the misadventures up until that point. However, that was probably my pessimistic side showing through. So in this post, I thought I would be a little less wordy, post more pictures and try to showcase some of my favorite moments on trail. Disclaimer: I am not a photographer by any stretch, so I apologize for the lack of National Geographic quality photos.


It’s no secret that the vistas on the PCT are amazing. In fact, one could argue that they are one of the main reasons to hike this trail (it was for me!). What I didn’t expect was how much there is. It’s actually rare to be walking in an area where you can’t see off into the distance somewhere. Here are a few of my favorites.

Sunrise, Sunset

There are many awesome campsites all along the trail. Some tucked away in cool private spots, some perfectly sensible in terms of daily mileage or proximity to water. But if you’re willing to pre-plan a bit, put up with a bit more fickle weather and maybe carry a touch more water to camp, you might be rewarded with some amazing dusk and dawn light shows.

Evening on the LA aqueduct.
Yeah, it’s windy, but worth it!
I was still in my sleeping bag when I took this. Of course I was drinking coffee!
Whitewater Preserve

Old Things

Even though we spend a lot of time walking through wilderness areas, the PCT is not a wilderness experience. Evidence of civilization is readily apparent. From houses, road crossings, power lines, planes flying overhead, wind turbines, etc., you may feel like you’re “out there” but the reality is that you are very connected at all times. Heck, the trail itself is a 2500-plus-mile man-made object. What is rather fun at times, is seeing stuff that has been around since a bygone era. At one time these were all brand new, a source of pride, someone’s income, someone’s prized possession, now forgotten and left to be reclaimed by the elements. Some of them had an obvious purpose, some less so. Either way, it’s fun to imagine what they might have looked like during their heyday.

Fox Mill Spring
Quarry? Mine?
Just needs a little TLC.
Tunnel under the highway makes sense, but what’s the framework for?
Ride, ride magic bus.


I got lucky this year. It’s once in twenty years that a super bloom happens and this is one of them. While the price for this is a lot more moisture and cooler than normal temperatures (not the worst thing in the desert – water sources have been plentiful and I’ve really only had something like four days of heat) the beauty is absolutely worth it.

Flowering hillsides are everywhere!
It never gets old.
Super bloom!!


Ok, just a brief complaint: I’ve been all but skunked when it comes to trail magic. Hikers all around me have gotten trail magic of all kinds. Somehow I managed to miss most of it. Oh well…But, that’s not to say that there hasn’t been support along the trail. Sometimes it’s a water cache, sometimes it’s help from a trail angel, sometimes it’s as simple as a kind note that reminds me how lucky I am to be out here and that there are people supporting me on the trail.

Best. Water cache. Ever.
Home for a while.
An oasis in the desert. Literally.
These little guys were all over leaving Aqua Dolce.
Written in the front of a trail register. This one brought tears to my eyes. And still does.

Looking Forward

So the first chapter of the trail is closing and the next is opening. In many ways, I feel very much the same today as I did when I began the trail. My pack feels heavy and I’m nervous about what is to come. The Sierra is definitely “leveling up” – particularly in a high snow year. All I can do is prepare as best as possible, go in with a level head and be prepared to accept whatever the trail offers me. Whatever that may be, I’m sure it will be an adventure! See you down the trail.

This humble road sign means more to a PCT hiker than can ever be explained.
First view of the high Sierra up close.

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Comments 3

  • Vickie Tapping : May 12th

    Great stuff keep enjoying. My daughter from the UK is just behind you. What an experiencex

  • marsh : May 12th

    You ask what the framework in front of the culvert is for. It is to stop debris from plugging up the culvert in the event of a flash flood. If the culvert gets plugged, the road can wash out.

  • Va : May 13th

    Way to go Josh!


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