Ray Echols

On May 15, 2006, the PCT and long-distance hiking community lost one of its own. Wendell Ray Echols (“No Way Ray”) of Mariposa, California, was approximately 300 miles into a northbound PCT thru-hike with his wife Alice Tulloch when he apparently lost his footing and fell about 200 feet to his death. Alice was hiking about 20 yards behind him when he went around a corner and disappeared. The accident occurred in a remote part of the San Bernardino National Forest near Deep Creek. Another group of hikers heard Alice’s pleas for help and were able to use a satellite phone to call for assistance. Ray was pronounced dead at the scene.

Before his retirement, Ray worked as junior high school teacher in a four-room, nine-grade country school in the Mariposa County Unified School District. He is best known in the hiking community, however, for his frequent posts to the PCT-L, his service on the American Long Distance Hiking Association-West’s Board of Directors, his participation in events such as Trail Fest and the Annual Day Zero Kick Off Party, and his inspired writing. Ray began a thru-hike of the PCT in 2001. This trek metamorphosed into a 3,500-mile, three-section hike which he finished in 2005, going from Ashland to Manning Park. Ray and his zest for life will be missed by all who knew him. Numerous donations have been made to the PCTA in Ray’s honor.

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