2014 Photo Contest Winners

At sunset a thunder storm rumbled to our west as we hastily set up camp for the night. Photo by: Colin Arisman

There’s something about a photo contest dedicated to the Pacific Crest Trail that’s hard to beat.

For one, the trail winds through some of the most beautiful places in the world. Every photograph with a person in it drips with happiness. And every picture is a donation by a volunteer who’s willing to let us use their photos in perpetuity to promote the trail and PCTA’s work to protect it.

We received more than 1,000 entries this year. It’s an incredible amout of good work. Even if you didn’t win, know that your photos are saved in our archive and might be used in one of our publications, in our web pages or promotional materials or as part of a slide show when we speak … Read more

Join the North 350 Blades in Seattle on May 10th

The North 350 Blades would like to invite you to their third annual Kick Off Party! Join them at shelter #5 at Woodland Park in Seattle on Saturday, May 10 from 3-6 pm.

In addition to food The Blades will be sharing information about trail maintenance season and the exciting season ahead. Bring a friend. We’re looking to grow the number of people in this volunteer program! Check out their recent projects in their photo albums.

Because The Blades love food, the menu lineup is looking delicious:

  • Smoked Pork with homemade BBQ sauce
  • Baked Ziti
  • Mac n’ Cheese
  • Hamburgers
  • Green Salad
  • Potato Salad
  • Dessert
  • Soft Drinks

To help prepare a correct amount of food please RSVP with an email to north350blades@gmail.com by May 7.Read more

PCTA’s 2014 annual meeting wrap-up

Thank you Janette Storer for your dedication towards improving the trail and for founding the NorCal Trail Crew! Janette is standing with PCTA's Big Bend Regional Representative, Ian Nelson.

More than 100 people attended our 2014 annual meeting Saturday, April 12. The event allows us to formally recognize outstanding volunteers and to announce our financial results from the previous year. It’s also a great and enjoyable way for PCTA staff to engage with members, volunteers and donors.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. We continue to celebrate more than 85,000 volunteer hours given in 2013. Those hours are valued at just over $1.8 million in volunteer labor.

We recognized two outstanding trail maintenance volunteers at this year’s annual meeting. Janette Storer was honored for founding our NorCal Trail Crew. Charles Williams was honored for logging out more than 550 trees on 140 miles of trail near Mount Lassen in Northern California. They both … Read more

Only The Essential trailer – a new Pacific Crest Trail documentary

Colin Arisman and Casey Gannon launched the trailer to their beautiful new Pacific Crest Trail documentary. The full movie will be available online for free in the fall. We’re excited to see how it captures the magic and the spirit of the Pacific Crest Trail. Based on the trailer, it’s going to be a great movie!

Check out Colin’s website at colinarisman.com and like the Only The Essential Facebook page. Colin is a part of a new generation of PCTA supporters and we’ll be publishing some of his art over the next few months.

The state of the snowpack on PCT/JMT in the High Sierra

Bullfrog Lake, near the PCT and Kearsarge Pass.

This is a guest post by John Dittli, a 34-year resident of the High Sierra who works part-time as a snow surveyor for the California Department of Water Resources. His day job is managing his photography business. His award winning book, Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail is available through his website www.johndittli.com and at fine bookstores. To see more of John’s images and what he might be up to, follow him on Facebook.

As California perseveres through one of the driest winters on record, the same may not hold true for many of the highest elevations in the Sierra. From my home at 7,200 feet on the east slope of the Sierra, I waited for snow to coat 11,472-foot Red Mountain. … Read more

The Gold Six crew: NCCC’s impressive months on the PCT

Two and a half miles north of CA 74 the cew installed a cribbed rock landing to make a big step down more gentle.

This piece was co-written by Reba Berg, a member of the Gold Six NCCC team who also acts as the team’s Media Relations Specialist. Reba hails from the great state of Minnesota.

While I embarked on a long distance PCT hike back in 2005, the overwhelming take-away for me was the incredibly supportive community that surrounds this gem of a trail. It is and was a sense of community that I had never experienced before — and that experience was strong enough for me to pursue a life and career on the trail. Every day still, I am enlightened by the random acts of kindness, the direct eye contact, the empowerment, and the shared challenge and success that binds us as one.

Over the past … Read more

Encountering Border Patrol on the southern Pacific Crest Trail

A common sight in San Diego County. [photo: Customs and Border Protection]

The Pacific Crest Trail is a wonderfully diverse experience and the area near our southern terminus and into the mountains is no exception. Hikers and riders are used to mountain weather, stream crossings and swarms of mosquitoes, but many are unprepared for the experience of walking around in the U.S.-Mexico border zone.

After fielding a lot of questions and talking to our partners at the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service and agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, we thought we’d write up a few tips about the border region.

  • You might encounter Border Patrol agents. They patrol the trail and the nearby road networks in the area by foot, ATV, horseback, truck and air.
  • A common encounter is that you
  • Read more

Meet the insanely lucky #PCTDirtyDozen

Seth and Amy, two of the #PCTDirtyDozen who will be rolling northward with an fresh Olympus socks.

They’re called the #PCTDirtyDozen, but we’re still hoping that they’ll shower and do their laundry.

Lots of you applied (see the call) for free boxes of socks from KEEN or a brand new pack from Gregory. Each company chose a dozen hikers and beautiful free gear is starting to arrive in mailboxes around the country. Follow these lucky thru-hikers throughout the season at the #PCTDirtyDozen and #PacificCrestTrail hashtags.

Thanks Gregory and KEEN for being our partners and giving back to the trail!

Have an amazing summer everyone!

The KEEN group (who are getting fresh socks every five hundred miles or so)

Issuing the PCT Long Distance Hiking Permit

Marnie, our marvelous Trail Permit Assistant, has been working hard the past couple of months helping long-distance hikers and equestrians get out on the Pacific Crest Trail. Thanks for all of your hard work!

The PNTS Trail Apprentice Program – an amazing opportunity

In November 2013, I was fortunate to attend the Partnership for the National Trails System conference in Tucson, Ariz., as one of 15 Trail Apprentices. “Since its inception in 2009,” explains PNTS board member and Trail Apprentice Coordinator, Teresa Martinez, “the PNTS Trail Apprentice Program has brought over 65 young professionals to PNTS events. The success of the program has been the engagement of young professionals that has continued to grow and evolve with the needs of not only our participants in the scholarship program, but the ever-growing understanding of what the future needs of our resources will be.”

As the youngest attendees at the conference, the 18- to 25-year-old apprentices represented the future of conservation leaders and were focused on discovering ways to involve … Read more