ASK ANYONE who knows me well, and you will learn that I love the mountains, even those I no longer climb. I delight in visiting those high places where the air is clean and clear, the rock is rough and bare, and the views extend forever.
The Pacific Crest Trail is such a place. Extending 2,600 miles from the Mexico to Canada, the trail follows the backbone of the western states of California, Oregon, and Washington. It's a beautiful and awesome route, so we enjoy visiting sections when we can.
The entire trail can be hiked in several months by those extremely fit, or in segments by those willing to spend a week or more in the mountains.
Whether trekking the exceptionally scenic segments such as Yosemite to Sonora Pass, Echo Lake to Tahoe, Shasta to Crater Lake, or the 200-mile John Muir Trail, there's plenty of trail to challenge anyone who wants to experience the most inspirational scenery in the west. Most choose to travel during the summer and autumn when the streams are low, and everyone is encouraged to carry a hat, trekking poles, plenty of food and water, and DEET.
I love the fact that this marvelous trail is right in our own back yard - just a short auto commute from our Bay Area home.
Our 2013 visit to the PCT began at the ridge-top trailhead above Packer Lake in Plumas County. We spent the entire day enjoying the trail above the 7,000 foot elevation and were blessed with blue skies, puffy clouds, and gentle breezes that kept temperatures mild during the midday sun. This section of the PCT kept us delightfully entertained with many distant vistas including various views of the striking 8,591 foot craggy profile of the Sierra Buttes.