PCT connections run deep and far

Here’s a lighthearted post about an email we received recently from Rick Hubbard of South Burlington, Vermont—a member of the PCT Class of 2003…


In your recent [Over the Pass] email, David Rolsten’s poem, “I Took a Walk” brought back memories of my own (Rick Hubbard—aka trail name “Newsman”) PCT poem and song (see below). I led our PCT Class of 2003 trailmates in singing it near the end of our Lake Morena weekend send-off gathering organized by previous year’s PCT hiker grads.

My Send-off Song to the PCT Class of 2003…


To The Tune Of: “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands”

If you’re tired of the city, take a hike
If the rat race got you down, take a hike
When the terrorists are frisky
City life is just too risky
If your plans are just too shifty
Take a hike

If your love life just got worse, take a hike
If you’re bonding with your sweetie, take a hike
If you’re ecstatic to be married
And you want life to be varied
With great mem’rys till you’re buried
Take a hike

If you need some time to think, take a hike
If our nation’s got you worried, take a hike
When you hike with friends all day
You’ve got time to have your say
To explain things just your way
Take a hike

If your plan is not to race, take a hike
If you need to build your base, take a hike
Just begin with easy miles
Till you face each day with smiles
Solve your problems with your wiles
Take a hike

Once our Lake Morena sponsors took a hike
Now they’re helping this years’ starters take a hike
They’ve got knowledge we can’t see
To pass on to you and me
All of this, so that we
Can take a hike

If you’re happy and you know it, take a hike
If you’re thankful, let’s all show it, take a hike
Let our sponsors have a cheer
From our starter group this year
For the good food and the beer

It was a big success, and subsequently published in the PCT Communicator magazine. But the story doesn’t just end there.

Fast forward five years to August 2008. Sally, my life-partner, and I are in the early stages of a multi-day bicycle trip along the northernmost road around the Gaspé peninsula in Quebec, Canada. It’s early August and raining hard as we ride through dense forest, not a great day for being outdoors. On my right, I spot a sign where the newly extended Appalachian Trail joins the road. A quick map-check reveals that sure enough, the IAT [International Appalachian Trail] joins and follows this road for a couple of miles until leaving it to the left. Moreover, I quite quickly spot a hiker from Quebec and exchange greetings.

A bit further on, I spot a pair of male hikers who turn out to be Americans, so I slow down to ride alongside as they hiked and we talked. Turns out that one of them previously hiked the PCT in 2003 and was now about to finish adding the AT. When I said I’d also hiked the AT and more recently also hiked 1,100 miles of the PCT in 2003 he asked for my trail name. When I told him “Newsman,” he got very excited as he said: “You’re the guy who led our class in song at Lake Morena”. And then in the middle of the Gaspé woods, he proceeded to sing perfectly, the first couple of stanzas of “Take a Hike.”

That’s something I couldn’t have even managed after 5 intervening years. PCT hikers build relationships and memories that last!

I’m enclosing a photo taken of all those (none of us had ever met) who pre-agreed to meet at the Mexican border at 5:30am April 25th to start the PCT. I’m on the left with my trusty red, 1960s Kelty aluminum frame backpack.

Rick Hubbard (left) and fellow hikers at the PCT’s Southern Terminus in 2003. Photo courtesy of Rick Hubbard.

Rick Hubbard

Thanks Rick for that much-appreciated song and story of PCT fellowship!

Author: Scott Wilkinson

Scott Wilkinson is the PCTA’s Content Development Director. A former professional musician, Scott has 20+ years of experience in almost every marketing role. Before joining the PCTA he was a marketing/creative director at West Virginia University and the University of Oregon. A serious outdoor addict, Scott is an experienced whitewater paddler, hang glider pilot, flyfisher, mountain biker, and (of course) hiker and backpacker.