When Corey Trager was hiking alone on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) along stretches where he did not see more than one person the entire day what did he think about? At the Evanston Bicycle Club meeting on Feb. 18, 2020 he confessed that his thoughts went in two directions, one was to the comfort food he planned to enjoy at his next supply stop and the other was hearing the Jeopardy theme song "Think!" in his head.
Cory backpacked 440 miles, or about 1/6th of the PCT from Walker Pass to Echo Lake plus another 50 or so extra miles when he traveled to towns to restock supplies, about 14 miles per day. The 2,650 mile trail that runs from Mexico to Canada was completed in 1993 and encompasses the John Muir trail. The PCT became even more popular after the publication of the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed published in 2012. In 2014 it became a movie staring Reese Witherspoon. It is so popular that to exhance the experience only 50 permits are issued to to start each day at the Mexico border. About 1200 people hiked the entire trail in 2019.
Corey's preparations for the trip included:
A typical day included camping at the base of a pass and rising early to begin his hike by 6:30am while the terrain was still firm from the cold temperatures during the night. He hiked through snow, waded across rushing streams, and desert. The scenery was outstanding. He saw about 5,000 backpackers hailing from the United State, Germany, Korea, New Zealand, Japan in his 6 week journey and experienced a tremendous sense of accomplishment to have complete this challenging project.
Since the 1920s people have advocated to set aside the wilderness that is now the PCT as a protected corridor so that people could experience the sense of solitude and closeness with nature and a retreat from civilization. Let’s hope that future generations will continue to enjoy this resource, even if it happens to include hearing the Jeopardy song in their heads!
Sharon Kaminecki comments on adventures in bicycling and other stories