The Pacific Crest Trail

In April of 2010 I will hike the PCT north from Campo, California to Manning National Park, B.C. It will be no doubt, the most difficult physical challenge of my life to date and perhaps the most difficult mental challenge as well. “Why” I am doing this encompasses personal reasons and needs which will (for now) remain personal. For those who create art or are called to accomplish things because of a strong desire understand that the “why” is not so important as the “doing it” is.

I am however, taking this opportunity to raise money and awareness for my preferred environmental organisation: The Natural Resources Defense Council.

I invite you to learn more about the NRDC and my trip.

Visiting the start point for inspiration and focus

The Pacific Crest Trail stretches approximately 2,650 miles from Mexico to British Columbia. It climbs through nearly 60 major mountain passes, 3 national monuments, 7 national parks, 24 national forests and 33 federally mandated wildernesses. It winds through six of North America’s seven eco-zones. About 300 hikers attempt to thru hike (hike the entire trail in one season) the trail each year. It also connects many places where I have visited or back packed before including Julian, Lost Valley Boy Scout Camp, Anza Borrego, Idyllwild, Big Bear, the Mojave Desert, Mammoth, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Crater Lake and Ashland. I will finish by October 1, 2010.

It seems fitting to me that I would travel from where I grew up in Southern California to where I was born in British Columbia. I plan to document my journey and begin a new chapter in my life dedicated to protecting and preserving our natural resources by starting with the “back yard “of my life’s greatest influence: The West Coast of North America.

For more detailed information about the PCT please visit:

The Intention

The Trail

The Natural Resources Defense Council

About 10 years ago I attended a lecture at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as the Keynote speaker. This man changed me from a cynical skeptic of politics to an inspired supporter of his cause. I did not need any persuading when it came to conservation and the need to protect our natural resources, but I was truly awed by his passion for defending the environment from destruction and abuse. He suggested that it is the land and its natural wealth that unites us as North Americans, not as citizens of Mexico, America or Canada. The natural resources have no borders and it is our duty as citizens and human beings to be stewards of our land, not short term exploiters.

To see what the NRDC is about click the link to their homepage:

Please support the efforts of the NRDC by donating what you can so that they may continue to fight the good fight for all of us. I will not receive a penny. It all goes directly to the NRDC. By clicking the link below you can safely and easily make a donation.

Please make donations in honour of:



                                                           P.O. Box 93

                                                           Santa Barbara, CA 93102

*The donation form has two spaces available for a first and last name. By entering Tristan’s (first name) and PCT-Hike (last name) in the space, total contributions can be estimated for this project by the NRDC over the next year. Thank you!


Appreciating the views near Mammoth Lakes

Carey Guerin will be my Production Manager for the time I am away. She will be taking care of the logistics from re-supplies to tracking my progress. Since I will not always have cell phone reception or internet access for much of my trip, Carey will be my public relations “point woman,” and as such the most reliable source for the latest news and contact information. She is uniquely qualified for this position as she is in her element when it comes to tracking information, logistical coordination, 100% trustworthy,  LEED accredited, and luckily for me, my girlfriend.

The Human Resource

People are incredible resources. I am very grateful to my employers for being so supportive of my endeavour by offering me some much needed security and peace of mind when it comes to having my job back upon my return. Since I am taking a leave of absence from work I will have no income for the approximately five months it will take me to finish. I am very grateful to them for their understanding and dedication to my hike.

The Base Camp

The wilderness behind the mountains of Mammoth, CA.

Wednesday October 13, 2010

2663 miles hiked + bonus miles

0 miles to go

The 5 month 8 day journey comes to successful completion!

The SPOT GPS location

Heading south to Lake Morena on the PCT

with the Back Packer’s Club.

Photo courtesy of Ray

Mentally I am confident and as prepared as I can imagine for agonizing times but the real test will be on the trail. Physically I am confident in my strength and endurance, but again, the day after day demand on my body will be unknown until I am well on my way. As a swimmer, jogger, and bike rider I am well conditioned.  An active lifestyle lends itself to being well prepared for a multitude of challenges. My focus is not on getting into any kind of peak shape, but in being able to keep an average 20 mile per day pace. Ultimately the hike itself will be what conditions me. What I want my body to get used to is the weight and strain of a pack while hiking. I am aiming for a base weight (everything but food and water) of 15 lbs.

I have the luxury of eating almost whatever I want now as much of  the hike will find me burning more calories than I consume. Therefore I will be resupplying mostly along the trail with supplemental packages mailed to me. This will give me flexibility in choices as well as freshness. Cooking dinner at home with just one pot and trying different meals has been interesting. The rice-a-roni boxes are easy and filling. So is basic pasta.

A good deal of time was spent researching trail shoes. It seemed critical to me that I get it right from the beginning. Luckily I had two excellent running stores to go to. Both diagnosed me as a neutral runner with slight pronation and a high arch. I bought the Brooks Cascadia Trail Running shoes with inserts and have worn them every single day since December. They feel great. I run in them and have hiked in them and I am very happy so far.

I am already knowledgeable in first aid, orienteering, and survival but I plan to enroll in an ice axe fall arrest / snow skills course for the high sierras. I would rather be prepared and confident and not use it than to take a chance. I will have a GPS tracking device in case of emergencies and for the peace of mind of loved ones. Much to the dismay of some well meaning (if not misinformed) friends, I will NOT be carrying a machete, cross-bow, bullwhip, chinese throwing stars, rifle or handgun. I will take my chances fending off any predators with my charm, hiking poles, knife and B.O.

Many people have asked me if I am training for this. The answer is yes, but I consider it more like preparation. There are many aspects that require my attention and there has been a learning curve in striking a balance between preparation and flexibility.

Most of my time has been spent working so that I am financially free to do this, and researching. Researching gear, the trail, logistics, food, costs, other hiker’s experiences, etc. I have found the trail journals to be the most valuable resource as they allow me to see what mistakes previous hikers made and what they would do differently next time. They also offer a window into the mental and physical challenges day in and day out.

The Preparation