Mexico to Canada (Almost): A Six-Month Journey on the Pacific Crest Trail
In April 2019, Carey Kish set off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), a 2,653-mile path through California, Oregon and Washington, which traverses seven national parks, 25 national forests, 4 national monuments and 48 designated wilderness areas. Join Kish for a virtual talk with the Jesup Memorial Library on Friday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. as he shares stories and pictures from his time on the trail. Kish followed the PCT, which stretches from the Mexican border to Canada, for 187 days until just 177 miles shy of Canada, when he was driven off the PCT by a hazardous early winter storm, the second in ten days.
The first 700 miles of the PCT are through the deserts of southern California, where waterless stretches of 20 to 30 miles and 90 to 100-degree temperatures in the Mojave contrast sharply with snow and ice at 9,000 feet on Mt. San Jacinto. The 500-mile section through the Sierra Nevada is the crux of the hike, with the possibility of deep snow and rivers swollen with snowmelt, plus several dozen high mountain passes, including Forester Pass at 13,153 feet, the PCT’s highest point. In northern California, the PCT swings west around lofty Mt. Shasta to connect with the Cascade Range, which it follows past Oregon’s Crater Lake and Mt. Hood and then Washington’s Mt. Rainier to Canada. During his time hiking, Kish saw 6 black bears, 5 rattlesnakes, a dozen elk, hundreds of fearless deer, and countless marauding deer mice (in Washington).
Kish says that hiking the PCT had been on his bucket list for a long time when he first heard about the trail in the mid-1970s when he read “The High Adventure of Eric Ryback” in which Ryback, the first person to hike the entire PCT, in 1970, when the trail was largely incomplete. Soon after Kish’s first AT thru-hike in 1977, he bought the “Pacific Crest Trail Hike Planning Guide.” He plans to hit the trail again next August to finish the 177 miles left on his journey.
Kish of Hall Quarry is veteran hiker, outdoors and travel writer, beer enthusiast and certified funmeister. Kish is the author of “AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast” and editor of the “AMC Maine Mountain Guide,” and his regular hiking and camping column has appeared in the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram for almost two decades. His writing and photos have appeared in numerous other publications, most recently Activities Guide of Maine, Maine Brew & Bev Guide, Maine Today Travel Magazine, Green & Healthy Maine, Maine Seniors, Northwoods Sporting Journal, Outside and soon, Senior Hiker.
Registration for this event is required to receive the Zoom link. To register fill out the form at jesuplibrary.org/event/kish or email firstname.lastname@example.org.