Saturday 24 September 2022

40 Years Ago I Finished My Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike

Monument 78, September 24

On the 24th September 1982 I finished my walk along the Pacific Crest Trail at Monument 48 on the USA/Canada border. It was pouring with rain. I didn't mind. I'd just had the greatest adventure of my life. My only regret was that it was ending. 

View from Fire Creek Pass, September 17

The last two weeks of the walk were spectacular as the trail passed through the dramatic alpine mountains of the North Cascades. They were tough weeks too as over and over again the trail climbed to high passes, descended into deep valleys, then climbed straight back up to another high pass. But after over 2000 miles (3200km) of backpacking I was very fit and found the walking easier than back in the much gentler terrain at the start in faraway Southern California. 

Autumn larches at one of my last camps

After the touch of winter at Snoqualmie Pass (see this post) I felt the need to hurry even though I would have liked to draw out these last weeks, stretching every last minute in the mountains and on the trail. But winter was coming. The autumn colours were increasing by the day, the ground a swathe of red. Golden larches shimmering in the forests. Nights were chilly, the ground often white with frost at dawn. Days were hot in the sun but cool in the shade.

Mount Hardy from Methow Pass, September 22

But the weather held until the very last day and the mountains were glorious. This was the most dramatic landscape since the High Sierra. I had wondered if I would be tired of the trail and eager to finish after so many months walking. Not here, not in this magnificent landscape. I felt I could have walked here forever.

Cutthroat Pass, September 22

I couldn't of course. In two days I would be back home. The PCT would live with me forever though and my appreciation and joy in the walk would deepen over the years. 

The full story of my PCT hike is told in my book.


  1. Wow what an amazing first long and wild backpacking achievement. Well done!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book - it's inspiring. I'm planning on buying it for one of my son's Christmas present.

  3. Fantastic walk and book.Can it be that many years ago?I hope you get some more book sales after this piece.Thank you.