01.The imposing Glacier Peak dominated the views to the north for the first 2 days after leaving Stevens Pass. After reaching it the next 2 days were spent skirting round its west and north flanks.
02. The simply stunning autumnal colours in the North Cascades. The dark and iridescent crimsons are the berry bushes and the ye?lows and oranges are the mountain ash and willows.
03. Huckleberry bushes are taller than blueberry bushes and generally found at lower altitudes. There are often the shrivelled remnants of the flowers on the blueberries.
04. Looking over the mountain ash across one on the hundreds of hemlock and fir filled valleys in the North Cascades to one of the numerous massifs which are around 7-9,000 feet
05. When the sun shines at a certain angle and the light almost passes through the berry bush leaves they light up and whole hillsides look like they are on fire
06.Looking down across alpine meadows in to a valley heading west with perfectly formed interlocking spurs.
07. The 2500 mile mark. 2500 miles!. 5 times what the Proclaimers made a song and a dance about
08. One of a large brood of Ptarmigan who nonchalantly wandered down the track in front of me. I am not sure of the spieces yet or if it changes plumage colours
09. Another massif in the North Cascades. The forests in the valleys are usually accessible through a network of well maintained paths, despite the intensive upkeep needed
10. On the second day of approach to Glacier Peak the mountains many glaciers started to reveal themselves
11. More of the gorgeous hillsides covered on berry bushes which are lit up buy the sun to form a kaleidoscope of colour. The trees here would be either sub alpine firs or mountain hemlock
12. Even when the weather is grey there is enough colour in the foilage to lift one spirit. These colours are from the maple vines which go yellow, then orange and crimson as the chlorophyll drains from the leaves
13. Mountain hemlocks and sub alpine firs in a huckleberry field on the way up to Suiattle Pass with the first of the snow showers rolling in
14. Looking up the valley to the north side of Glacier Peak where the Ptarmigan Glacier terminates in the mist. The yellows are a willow in autumnal splendour
15. The lean-to at Bridge Creek Campground was a simple affair but made life much easier as my tent was still damp from the previous night
16. On the way up to Cutthroat Pass where I camped in the dry snow just before the pass at about 6400 feet
17. As I neared my campsite just before Cutthroat Pass the setting sun lit up the underside of the clouds in a manner I have not seen before
18. The morning sun always brightens up the autumnal tamaracks when its rays hit the golden boughs. This tamaracks were on Cutthroat Pass
19. Tamaracks and blueberry bushes in the morning sun on Cutthroat Pass
20. Looking east down Pine Creek towards the needles from the ridge between Cutthroat and Granite Passes in the early morning sun.
21. Looking west down Swamp Creek from Granite Pass towads Mount Goode and Storm King, two 8000 foot mountains in the North Cascades National Park
22. Mount Hardy, a precipitous near 8000 foot mountain at Melthew Pass. The trail went under it and down the Melthew Valley to the north
23. The 2600 mile mark in the Melthew Valley. Just 59 miles to go from here to the end
24. The very first ray of morning sun hitting the tamaracks by my campsite on the south side of Tatie Peak sone 5 miles south of Harts Pass
25. Looking back south to the mountains I came through yesterday just before I descend down to Harts Pass
26. At the top of Woody Pass looking south to Rock Pass. The end of the trail now beckons
27. The confident Pika watches me as I approach. He had already made the warning squeak to alert the others who scurried for their holes with mouthfuls of leaves. This one is for you Oscar and Felix
28. Hopkins Lake from the last highpoint. From here it was all down hill to the notder with Canada in about 5 miles
29. A final picture of a grouse spieces I saw on the way down to the Northern Terminus
30. ‘Look Mum No Cars’. On top of the Northern Terminus after 2650 miles since the Southern Terminus – with No Planes, Trains, or Automobiles!
31. Manning Park Lodge; the real end of the PCT is 9 miles north of the Northern Terminus and 9 miles into Canada. This is where readjustment back to the real world begins after 5 months of hiking heaven
Section 19. Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass
01. My first view of the North Cascades at the top of the climb up from Snoqualmie Pass.
02. The path hewn into the side of a slab at the saddle by the top of the first climb from Snoqualmie Pass. This section of the trail was called the Kendall Catwalk.
03. The Hoary Marmot occupied the scree fields, sharing them with the Pika. Marmots hibernate while Pika survive off stored fodder.
04. Alaska Lake with some typical North Cascades peaks in the background.
05. Crossing the ridge on Alaska Mountain with Joe Lake nestled in its deep forest clad cirque.
06. The 2400-mile mark in a snowy meadow at the head of Joe Lake.
07. Looking down onto Spectacle Lake with some peaks in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of the North Cascades.
08. The rich shades of the shrub maple were getting more spectacular every day as autumn progressed.
09. The view west at the top of the climb up from the Lemah Valley with more peaks in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of the North Cascades.
10. The small lake were I could relax and enjoy a lunch in the warm sun before the descent to Waptus Lake.
11. Dixie crossing the stepping stones at the outlet of Deep Lake.
12. A sample of the vibrant autumn colours by the outlet of Deep Lake. The crimson is largely the huckleberry bushes.
13. Looking back down to Deep Lake from the pass to the east of it by Cathedral Rock.
14. Looking down onto Trap Lake with the mist clearing from the pass with a superb campsite.
15. The serene, idyllic Mig Lake with its water lillies and fringe of Huckleberry bushes.
16. Plump, sweet huckleberries undiscovered by bear, chipmunks or birds so far. Yours for the picking!
17. Grouse were plentiful in the area. They were not nervous of me but moved off at the last minute into the understorey or flew up to the lower branches of the conifers.
Section 18. White Pass to Snoqualmie Pass
01. Some of the beautiful lakes and ponds which were scattered through the forest on each side of the PCT north of White Pass
02. The 2300-mile mark just north of White Pass
03. The mossy stream that is some typical of the lush temperate Washington forest. This stream was to become the Bumping Creek
04. An Elk deer and her calf in a rainy meadow beside Bumping Creek on the way down to my campsite near Bumping Lake
05. The second road block manned by the military police stopping the public going up Little Naches Road.
06. Atmospheric scenery when the mist lifted for an while on my way up Mount Clifty while crossing the Manastash Ridge
07. The arrival of the cold front with a gale and frequent snow showers at about 6000 foot on Mount Clifty
08. It did not take long for the snow to start to accumulate on the branches of the hemlocks and firs on the North Ridge of Mount Clifty
09. Descending the North Ridge of Mount Clifty between showers. As I dropped below 5500 feet the snow turned to sleet and did not settle on the autumnal colours
10. In the depths of Big Creek Gorge with an intact section of the path. Frequently it dissappeared and I had to cross the creek pr walk down the middle of it.
11. A view down the John Wayne Pioneer Trail which was.on the bed of the old Chicago to Seattle railway. I followed this trail for and easy 20 miles between Easton and Snoqualmie Pass.
Section 17. Hood River to White Pass
01. Looking down the Columbia River on my kayak crossing with Oregon on the left and Washington on the right. The Columbia River is about a mile wide.
02. Arriving in Washington with Oregon in the background. The kayak was lent to me by Todd of The Gorge Paddling Center, who was in turn friends of Pat and Ann who had the superb Gorge View B&B in Hood River.
03. On a road walk there are sights and smells totally different to the subalpine environment of the PCT. However they are seldom fun and these cars sum up how I felt.
04. Some views on road walks are also good. Here is Mount Adams from a little north of Trout Lake.
05. The 2200 mile mark as I rejoined the PCT near Mount Adams.
06. From the slopes of Mount Adams there is a great view to the Queen of Washington, namely Mount Ranier. At over 14,000 feet its glacier is the largest in the US outside Alaska.
07. The northern slopes of Mount Adams in the evening sun rising above the meadow of Killen where I camped.
08. A Pika eating a mushroom beside a spring. Pikas do not hibernate but store fodder in their burrows to last the long winter months.
09. Approaching the Cispis Pass with the Klickitat Valley on the right and the Goat Rocks Range beyond.
10. The Cispis Valley with its lush meadows, copses of subalpine firs and hemlock, splashing cascades and craggy backdrop was a mountain paradise.
11. A meadow of spent flowers with the Goat Rocks Range in the background.
12. Gentians were one of the few flowers still in bloom mid September.
13. A fat marmot, stuffed with lupin leaves from the meadow, is almost ready to face 7 months hibernating in its burrow. These seem a different sub-species to the Yellow Bellied Marmots of the Sierra.
14. Looking north from Old Snowy Mountain where the PCT reaches its highest in Washington.
15. A herd of 8 wild Mountain Goats grazing in one of the high alpine meadows kept moist by the melting snowfields. These magnificent animals are protected here.
16. Looking back south to the Goat Rocks Range and seeing the glaciated north east faces. Old Snowy Mountain is the last big mountain on the left.
17. Looking north down the last ridge of the Goat Rocks Range on the long 20 mile descent down to White Pass. In the distance one can see the vast cone of Mount Rainier rising above all.
Section 16. Sisters to Hood River
01. Deer and fawns in the streets of Sisters eating the urban vegetation.
02. The cabins beside the upper Metolius River were a century old and many were heirlooms
03. The 2000 mile mark. The Proclaimers were home long ago!
04. The Shitike Creek on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation was in a valley of huge trees. I think the barrel was for the harvesting of crayfish.
05. The serene promontory overlooking Boulder Lake was covered in huckleberry bushes and near an osprey nest.
06. Trout Lake on Warm Springs Indian Reservation is where the proscribed campground is.
07. The early autumnal woods around Jude Lake where the PCT has an easement through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
08. The huge boles and trunks of some of the Douglas Firs and Hemlocks where I was a small figure wandering through the forest floor
09. Little Crater Lake was a 30 yard diameter and perhaps the same deep spring of crystal clear water with a blueish tinge
10. Ants had discovered this log and were busy hollowing out the insides. They were carrying small pieces of sawdust from the interior of the wood to the cut face and dumping it. If one lookes carefully at the right had crack one can see a few in action.
11. A view of Mount Hood from the Timberline Trail which circumnavigated the 12,000 foot conical mountain at the treeline.
12. The 2100 mile mark on the slopes of Mount Hood
13. The white owl which flew deftly through the trees and sat on a branch to watch me go by.
Section 15. Manzama to Sisters
01.Crater Lake and Wizard Island. The lake sat in a collapsed caldera and the island was a cinder cone
02. Mount Thielsen from this angle looks steep but as I walked past its left (west) flank it became a fantastic spire
03. My balcony-like campsite overlooking the volcanic cones north of Mount Thielsen
04. Picnic tables make for perfect cowboy camping, well away from the forest ants
05. The 1900 mile mark just north of Shelter Cove on Odell Lake
06. The Maiden Ski Hut log cabin was a popular place for PCT hikers to stay
07. Looking across a bay on Irish Lake at the start of the lovely passage through a series of lakes, tarns and ponds
08. Brahma Lake in the late afternoon sun. I continued another 2 miles to camp at Stormy Lake
09. The mist rising off Mac Lake on a smoky morning. There were wildfowl on many of these lakes but I could not identify them
10. Trying to keep up with Aladdin as he storms across a meadow before Elk Lake.
11. Broken Top Mountain on my off piste reroute was between Todd Lake and Three Creek Lake. Although not on the PCT it matched it’s views. On the other side (west) of Broken Top Mountain were the 3 volcanic cones of the Three Sisters which the whole area was named after
Section 14. Seiad to Manzama
01. One of the last meadows of North California
02. The California/Oregon border after 112 days and nearly 1700 miles. With me are Team Gypsy
03. The meadows of Oregon were more arid and larger, with drying grasses and patches of gravel
04. The 1700 mile mark just inside Oregon
05. The trail magic before Ashland. The coolers were full of soda and there were chairs to drink it in
06. A view of one of the managed utilitarian forests of Douglas Fir. The wild forests were more chaotic with bigger trees
07. A view of Mount McLoughlin from the lava fields of Mount Brown
08. The excellent path threaded a path through the impossibly rough lava boulders
09. The lightning induced fire attended to by the 4 firefighters who parachuted in to deal with it before it took hold
10. The path up Lucifer and the Devils Peak in the Sky Lakes Wildernesses area. Unfortunately many of the views on this stretch were obscured by smoke
11. The 1800 mile mark just before Seven Mile Trail junction where I left the PCT to take the fire closure alternative
Section 13. Castella to Seiad
01. The 1500 mile mark. Not even the Proclaimers got this far!
02. Castle Crag Mountain above Castella from the campsite with the fabled view.
03. Walking along the ridge to the first campsite of this section with the sun going down in a blaze through the trees.
04. The beautiful Deadfall Lake where I cleaned up after a week without a shower.
05. A Chipmunk feeding on ripening berries. This time of year must be bountiful for all the animals in these mountains.
06. The beauty of Bull Lake early in the morning after my night camping at Chilcoot Creek.
07. The fantastic lush valley of Marshy Lakes with a smaller range in the Trinity Alps as a background.
08. Sunset from my ridge top campsite after a long day. I cowboy camped here and later in the night a damp mist rolled in.
09. Sunrise after leaving Paynes Lake with the endless forests of North California stretching to the horizon where Mount Shasta still stands proud.
10. The 1600 mile mark at the start of the Marble Mountain Wilderness.
11. The lush meadows of the limestone areas in the Marble Mountain Wilderness. The red flower in the foreground is the Indian Paintbrush.
Section 12. Burney to Castella
01. The Burney Falls where the water both flows over the falls and out of rock where the porous layer rests on top of the impermeable layer of rock.
02. The firs and meadows in areas which had been previously harvested and were now regenerating.
03. The extensive forests of North California stretched into the haze with ridge after ridge of conifers harvested in small patches.
04. Many on the valleys now contained huge Douglas Firs. Some of these valleys were too deep to harvest and the trees flourished to a mature age.
05. The McCloud River is usually clear, but occasionally a dam release puts some sediment into the water. The trout in this drainage area were the ones used to populate New Zealand’s rivers.
06. Mount Shasta, the Queen of North California, stands over 14000 feet and dominates everything. It was the first time I had a clear view due to forest fires in Oregon.
07. The Sacremento River marked the end of the Burney to Castella section and the start of the Trinity Alps which lay to the west.
Section 11. Belden to Burney
01. Belden Hotel and Saloon was situated beside the river in the deep valley. It regularly hosted raves with 2-3000 people at each one
02. My meadow campsite a the head of Chips Creek was a return to the tranquillity of the trail after the disturbance of Belden
03. The meadows on Frog Mountain were full of flowers and surrounded by large Californian Red Firs
04. The 1400 mil mark just north of Frog Mountain.
05. A view from the ridge down one of the forested side valleys
06. A possible sap sucker guarding the holes she and her partner made on a young for tree. The tree produces sap to defend itself and the sap-suckers were.milking this sap.
07. The lovely forest.on the.descent to tuw second ceossing of the.North Fork of the Feather River just south of Lassen National Park
08. A meadow in the wide valley floor of the North Fork of the Feather River just before the southern boundary of Lassen National Park
09. Boiling Spring Lake was a sulphurous hot spring at the southern end of the volcanic region encapsulated by Lassen National Park
10. Some of the meadows in the lower lying regions of Lassen National Park where a lush oasis of full summer foilage
11. Lower Twin Lake in Lassen National Park was an idyllic place and perfect.for a swim
12. The 3 hikers I met on and off through Lassen and other places. From the left, Sam from San Francisco, Isko from Finland and Marshmallow from Chicago
13. One of the few.views I saw of Mount Lassen. It is a volcanic plug which last erupted 100 years ago. The whole of the National Park is volcanic and made up of igneous rock.
14. P Step looking over the edge of the Hat Creek Rim escarpment onto a lava bench below. There was another escarpment beyond this bench down to the valley floor. We thought the escarpments were causeg by
Rifting rather than erosion
15. The 1400 mile mark. Just another 300 odd miles to Oregon now.
16. After a day on the arid escarpment rim overlooking Hat Creek Valley the trail descended to the valley where there were some lakes and ponds, many with flocks of Canada Geese
Section 10. Sierra City to Belden
01. The 1200 mile mark just after Sierra City
02. At a rest stop a butterfly spent a good 5 minutes proding the damp earth with its proboscis trying to extract minerals
03. A last mournful look behind me as the Sierras disappear from view as I head into Northern California
04. The Sierra Buttes rose up steeply to north of Sierra City
05. Deer Lake on the east side of the ridge was one of many picturesque lakes to the east
06. Gold Lake was also to the east of the ridge
07. My campsite in the forest at sunset. Soon after this a bear came round to investigate the cooking smells
08. The Middle Fork of the Feather River was a perfect temperature for swimming and had a calm stretch up from the footbridge
09. The large fire which was started by an arsonist burnt for a day then smoldered for a few more. Enormous resources went into controlling it
10. A chipmunk feeding on winged nuts. This time of year much be bountiful for most animals
11. On the way up to Spanish Peak there were fantastic meadows in full summer bloom with parkland firs surrounding them
12. Bam Bam crossing a high meadow near the 3 lakes junction before the campsite prior to the long descent to Belden
13. An evening view from the campsite down to the deep valley where Belden was situated
Section 09. Sonora Pass to Sierra City
01. The exquisite flowers of the Crimson Columbine are frequently found beside streams and damper meadows
02. Looking back up to the pass and basin at the headwaters of the East Carson River
03. There were still plenty of smaller snowdrifts in the shaded forests but in the meadows summer had unfolded
04. The Northern Sierras were a mass of smaller mountains and highland lakes. Only the highest peaks clung onto snowfields. Here is Boulder Lake nestled between peaks on the way up to an unnamed pass
05. One of the many small lakes and a meadow in the beautiful landscape south of Carson Pass
06. Showers Lake was 5 miles south of Echo Summit. It was a popular day hike location but this year there were still a lot of snowdrifts in the forest obscuring the path
07. Between Echo Summit and Echo Lake were 2 miles of the most enormous Californian Red Firs. In this crowded forest the trees lept up 175 foot to compete for light
08. The cabins around Echo Lake were an eclectic mix of traditional design and some were decades old and family heirlooms
09. The island studded Lake Aloha was regulated by a dam. Sometimes the islands were islets like now and at other times they took up much of the lake
10. The 1100 mile mark was just north of Lake Aloha in a snowfield
11. The climb up to Dicks Pass passed rugged landscape and lakes like Susie and Half moon Lakes. The haze is from a large fire near Mariposa 100 miles away
12. The top of Dick’s Pass was the last extensive snow on the PCT heading north. On 20th July it extended 2 miles down the north slope through the hemlock trees to the outlet of Dick Lake
13. Dick’s Lake with Dick’s Pass in the background. The lake was still largely frozen
14. Richardson Lake well below Dick’s Lake was basking in full summer with blossoming Corn Lilies abd water warm enough to swim in
15. A PCT hiker heading up through the fir forest across a meadow of the Yellow mule’s ear daisies enroute to the arid lofty ridge above Alpine Meadows ski resort
16. The young Dutchmen, Bear Can, dwarfed by the Californian Red Firs on the path down to Five Lakes Creek
17. The Peter Grubb Hut was owned and maintained by the Sierra Club, primarily for the benefit of backcountry skiers in the winter, but it was also open for PCT hikers.
18. Hundreds of thousands of Painted Lady butterflies were feasting on the flowers of the Mountain Monardella or Coyote Mint
19. The final section of the Northern Sierras before the descent to Sierra City took one past the Jackson Meadows Reservoir. For me Sierra City marked the end of the simpy stunning Sierras and the start of Northern California
20. Sierra City was a village with 275 inhabitants at 4000 feet. Its main street and collection of houses have not looked like they have changed since the 1950’s
Section 08. Vermillion Valley to Sonora Pass
01. Shooting Star flowers in a meadow between Vermillion Valley Resort and Graveyard Meadow
02. A year old bear digging for roots in the mosquito infested Graveyard Meadow
03. View from near the top of Goodale Pass down to my previous campsite and further down the valley to Graveyard Meadow and eventually Vermillion Valley Resort.
04. The view from near Purple lake to part of the Silver Divide, a great barrier ridge in the Sierras. Silver Pass is on the left and Goodale Pass is on the right of picture
05. The 900 mile mark just before Red’s Meadow
06. Red’s Meadow is a small friendly place on the PCT offering food and lodging
07. The North Fork of the San Joachim River as it flows down from 1000 island lake and beneath Agnew Meadow
08. Summer was unfolding quickly especially on the south facing slopes kept lush by melting snow. Here is a lily beside a creek
09. Thousand Island Lake with Mount Ritter at the far end. It was difficult to see the islands as the lake was largely still covered in ice
10. Looking down Lyell Canyon with the meadows sometimes flooded by the swollen creeks
11. There are many Belding’s Ground Squirrels living in burrows on the floor of Lyell Canyon. They favour sedge grass, especially the flower heads
12. Lyell Canyon was something of a Garden of Eden with its crystal clear waters and lush meadows surrounded by snowy mountains. Donahue Pass is at the head of the valley in the centre of the photo
13. Deer were commonplace in the Central Sierras. Here is a deer crossing a creek near Toulumne Meadows
14. Looking across meadows near Toulumne Meadows to the granite spires of Cathedral Peak and others near Yosemite Valley
15. After a fantastic days hiking down the Lyell Canyon, across Toulumne Meadows and then down Toulumne River, the rivulet, then creek, then river I had been following had grown massively and plunged over a few waterfalls before I left it.
16. Miller Lake was one of many beautiful lakes in the wild Central Sierras.
17. The final climb up to Benson Pass was easy. The sun cups were red with algae. Thw passes in the Central Sierras were 1000-2000 foot lower than in the High Sierras to 5he south
18. A Sooty Grouse (I think) which i stumbled across near my campsite before Seavey Pass. The grouse lives off pine nuts.
19. The lake I camped beside near Seavey Pass was gorgeous in the evening light.
20. Mika crossing the deep waters of Wide Creek, which was 5 foot deep in the middle. Mika had just left the US Marines and made it look easy
21. Dorothy Lake was still frozen when I passed it in mid July. This was the source of Wide Creek which grew quickly in the 8 miles to the point we waded it
22. “I will walk 500 miles then I will walk 500 more, lal lala, la la.” as the Proclaimers sing. The 1000 Mile Mark after coming down from Dorothy Lake Pass
23. At the top of the final climb in the Central Sierras looking south to what I had come through over the last 10 day since leaving Vermillion Valley Resort.
24. From the top of the final climb the geology changed to a volcanic rock which shattered easily into scree or talus and water became scarse from here to Sonora Pass
25. Despite the arid alpine conditions delicate perennials managed to thrive providing nectar for hundreds of butterflies.
Section 07. Kennedy Meadows to Vermillion Valley
01. Swimming in the Kern River by Swallow Bridge
02. Incense cedars glowing in 5he morning light by Death Creek Canyon
03. The Siberian Outpost plateau still covered in snow
04. Foxtail Pines near Rock Creek
05. Sunrise over the mountains adjacent to Mount Whitney.
06. Looking north fron the Sunmit of Mount Whitney along rhe spine of the High Sierras. The deep dry Owens Valley is on the right
07. A Yellow Bellied Marmot. They can spend 7 months a year hibernating in burrows under the snowpack
08. Harvest crossing a log bridge over a freezing torrent on the way to our first deep creek crossing
09. A textbook creek crossing over Tyndall Creek. This group have enough big blokes in it to help the smaller folk
10. Top’O leading the way across the sun cupped snowfield en route to our much too high snowy campsite at the very foot of Forester Pass; the highest point on the PCT.
11. My excellent Z Packs Duplex tent on the snow at the foot of Forester Pass. The pass is the notch on the ridge
12. Our small happy group on Forester Pass. From left; Deb, Top’O, James and Harvest
13. The descent down the north side of Forester Pass was long but quite easy
14. Harvest was happy to find the easiest way down tobogganing on her aTyvek tent groundsheet
15. After saying goodbye to the others I continued south up Glen Pass. It was easy but the snow was firm in the early morning
16. On the south side of Glen Pass I have to wade across the chilly outlet of Upper Rae Lake. The hot sun soon warmed me up afterwards
17. Another group arrived at the creek crossing below Arrowhead Lake while I sunbathed after my cold crossing. The first to cross was the Canadian boxer So Crépe
18. The 800 mile mark at Woods Creek suspension bridge
19. The final run up to Pinchot Pass. Perhaps the easiest of the 5 High Sierra passes on the PCT
20. For 3 days I walked with what I called the Cream of America group. Here is Flame and Tofu walking up frozen drifts en route to Mather Pass
21. The Cream of America traversing across the snowfield to the top of Mather Pass
22. A relieved group relaxing on the sunny slabs after Mather Pass. A PCT hiker will eat anything and here Oreo biscuits dipped in Nutella was one of the lighter low calorie options
23. The euphoric, mesmerising view down the Palisade Valley from the lip of the lakes. It was God’s own country
24. There were gorgeous meadows heading up the Middle Fork of the Kings River
25. The snowfields up and down from Muir Pass were long and very sun cupped. They were difficult to walk on and were very hot in the midday sun
26. Most of Evolution Valley and the lakes in it were still frozen on the way from Muir Pass to Evolution Meadow
27. Evolution Meadow from the lip of the lake above. This valley is also of fabled beauty
28. The gentle-humoured, but very witty Nacho, crossing Evolution Creek. A few weeks earlier this creek was much deeper during the peak melt period
29. The exceptional Cream of America group who I travelled with from 3 days at our departure in Evolution Meadow They continued for another 4 miles while I camped
30. One of the twin Sallie Keyes lakes beside which I camped. I remember them full of Golden Trout from a previous visit
31. Looking down the north side of Selden Pass. While I snacked Matt suddenly appeared and we walked together until after Bear Creek
32. Matt crossing Bear Creek. Previously Bear Creek was considered impassable but now peak melt was over and with the aid of an uprooted tree it was easy
33. The Bear Creek Valley below the ford was stunning with Lodgepole Pines and glades of meadows
Section 06. Hikertown to Kennedy Meadows
01. Hikertown was like the stage set of a children’s pantomime
02. Joshua Tree
03. The cultural landscape of the Cameron Valley road bypassing the windfarms
04. The scrub oak and pasture near Hamp Williams Pass
05. Scrub oaks in the meadows
06. The Californian Gnat Wren in its nesting hole
07. The 600 mile mark near Robin Spring
08. Pine forests on Piute Mountain
09. A water cache on the Kelso Valley road made a huge difference to how much water one had to carry
10. Even in the most hostile desert environment delicate flowers managed to thrive
11. Top’O walking through the Pinyon Pines approaching Walker Pass
12. The hills north of Walker Pass were on the edge of the Mojave Desert.
13. A campfire with the Kiwis; Holly and Joe, Wilder, Crimson, Matt, Harvest and a few others
14. Rugged landscape between Walker Pass and Chimney Creek
15. A first view of the Sierras from just north of Chimney Creek
16. The Kern River near Kennedy Meadows. I had not seen such a natural abundance of water since starting
17. The 700 mile mark just before Kennedy Meadows.
Section 05. Agua Dulce to Hikertown
01. Cowboy camping on the night I woke up with the heavy dew soaking everything
02. The beautiful trail from the ridge crest down the north slopes of the hill to Bear Spring. The drifts of flower were Farewell to Spring.
03. A hummingbird bathed in the trickle from Bear Spring
04. Wild cucumbers were draped over many of the Chaparral scrub bushes. The prickly fruit was moist with large seeds
05. A prime example of a Poodle dog bush by the Lake Hughes Road. It stood 6 foot high
06. The merciless hot midday climb up from the Lake Hughes Road. In the distance is Lake Hughes. The San Andreas fault runs down the floor of the valley and the lake sits astride it
07. Contouring around the north side of the ridge between Upper Shake and Sawmill camps through huge Douglas Firs, which surprisingly thrive here on the egde of the Mojave Desert.
08. The 500 mile mark. Many hikers that evening mentioned the Proclaimers
09. The Liebre Mountain Guzzler Tank was full of cool water to quench a hot climb. The water collected on the roof.
10. The idyllic saunter down through the Black and Scrub Oaks was a 3 mile saunter through tranquil parkland.
11. The last of the Chaparral before the parched grasslands of the Mojave Desert. Crossing it and the arid mountains in the distance is the jist of the next section
12. The amber grasslands in the Mojave Desert covered everything like a golden velvet
Section 04. Cajon Pass to Agua Dulce
01. An evening view looking across the pastoral valley where the San Andreas fault runs
02. Up on the mountains to the west of Cajon Pass headingto Guffy Spring and Mount Baldy.
03. Walking along the conifer covered ridge above Wrightwood town.
04. Mount Baldy from the crest of the Blue Ridge
05. The final slopes up Mount Baden Powell were covered in Jeffery, Pinyon and then Limber Pines, which were still being watered by melting snowdrifts.
06. There were some really gnarly 1500 year old Limber Pines on the summit of Mount Baden Powell
07. Looking NE from Mount Baden Powell across the Mojave Desert, which we were having to detour round
09. Looking SW from the main Angeles Forest ridge down towards the urban areas of Los Angeles which are all submerged in the mist.
09. The curious parasitic growths which sustain themselves off the roots of conifers. I have seen these in Europe also.
10. Mile 400 was just before Glenn Camp. Jusr 2260 to go now.
11. Trail Magic at Sulphur Springs where a hiker call Barrel Roll set up a trail side Gazebo over Memorial Weekend to serve up treats to passing PCT hikers.
12. The Poodle Dog Bush has oily leaves which transfer a residue if brushed against causing irritation and blisters if brushed against.
13. A view from the ridge over the coastal range before the deacent to North Fork Ranger Station
14. Top’O under his umbrella in the Chaparral sun descending down to the campground at Acton KOA.
Section 03. Idyllwild to Cajon Pass
01. Up on San Jacinto looking back to the Saddle with the Devil’s Slide on the right leading down to Idyllwild
02. Walking through the remnants of the snow amongst the venerable conifers on San Jacinto
03. Cowboy camping high on San Jacinto at about 8000 feet just before the start of the Fuller Ridge. It was a mistake and a tent would have been better
04. Looking back to San Jacinto from half way along the Fuller Ridge.
05. The long 6000 foot descent from the Fuller Ridge down to the desert near Cabazon. In the distance is Whitewater and San Gorgonio Mountain for the future days
06. The 200 mile mark with the north face of San Jacinto in the background.
07. Cowboy camping on the edge of the desert with San Jacinto in the background
08. Morning sun illuminates San Jacinto as set off across the short desert to Whitewater
09. A hiker dropping down into the wide alluvial Whitewater Creek Valley
10. My home for the night. A wigwag frame beside the Whitewater Creek
11. Sunrise looms on the ridges as I cross from Whitewater Creek to Mission Creek
12. Hawfrost sparkling in the pine needles up at Mission Creek Camp just before I saw the bobcat
13. Looking across the pine forests to San Gorgonio Mountain, 11 503 feet.
14. The citadel like Mojave Yucca formed huge clumps on the dry eastern slopes overlooking the desert.
15. Looking south over Big Bear Lake to San Gorgonio Mountain.
16. One of the giant Coulter Pine cones. These trees grow among the similar Jeffrey and Ponderosa pines but favour and even drier climate
17. Mile 300 in Deep Canyon with avid hiker “Crash” waiting patiently in the background
18. The Deep Creek at the hot springs. The swiming was nice but the place was marred a bit by degenerates
19. The catchment of the Mojave Creek West Fork with Mt Baden Powell in the distance which is the highpoint of Section 04.
20. The Bush Poppy, Dendromecon rigida, is prolific in the Chaparral around Silverwood Lake
21. The flowers of the Dendromecon rigida or Bush Poppy.
22. Silverwood Lake at a quiet moment without the confusion of jet skis and powerboats. PCT hikers camped at Cleghorn Picnic area at the very west of the lake.
23. Blue walking under his umbrella on the way up to Cajon Pass. He maintained it was like walking in the shade
24. The final run down to the collection of roadside pitstops beside the interstate 15. The mountains in the distance are the kernel of Section 04. Cajon Pass to Aqua Dulce
Section 02. Warner Springs to Idyllwild
01. Hikers cross the extensive grasslands north of Warner Springs
02. Climbing into the hills north of Warner Springs for the 40 mile crossing to Paradise Valley and the start of the San Jacinto Range
03. Looking south down to the extensive grasslands of Warner Springs.
04. Sunrise from my camp in the hills around the small scattered hamlets of Anza.
05. A close up of a Beavertail cactus and flower
06. A family of Barrel Cactus whose concertined sides allow the cactus body to swell and store water. The flowers are on top.
08. A Soaptree Yucca grows in clusters spreading from a single plant. The samll flowers grow in great spikes some 10 foot high.
09. On the thrid day of this section from Paradise Valley to Idyllwild the route parallels the highway 74 but keeps apart as it threads a path through pines and oak
10. Ocassionally the path from Paradise Valley to Idyllwild passes through a cultural landscape of small ranches where generally retired owners keeps horses
11. Near Idyllwild the path went through more pine forests. In one glade a skunk searched for ants and insects in the damp grass. It was aware of my presence but was not afraid
12. Idyllwild is a slighly Bohemian small town with some 1000 eclectic cabins in the $300,000 mark and a touristy artisanal centre. Here is one of the few hairdressers
Section 01. Campo to Warner Springs
01. At the Southern Terminus of the PCT. The corrugated iron wall marking the border with Mexico is just behind.
02. The hot desert was blessed with abundant rainfall in the winter 2016/17 allowing plants to flower like this Chaparral Yucca
03. The climb up from the first night’s camp at Hauser Creek. One had to get going early and get some miles done before the fearsome heat of midday sun kicked in around 1100
04. The view of Morena Lake on the second day. There was a small store in the village beside the lake which served breakfasts.
05. The Chaparral is a California’s most extensive ecosystem and is characterised by tough woody shrubs and succulents which tolerate a semi arid climate
After 2 very hot arid days in the Chaparral the trail finally climbed up to Mount Laguna with its forests of 2 needled Ponderosa Pine and California Oak.
07. My lightweight tent under the Ponderosa Pines at Mount Laguna on Day 3.
08. The glorious forests continued for another 5 miles to the north of Mount Laguna before the terrain dropped down into the Chaparral vegetation again
09. Coast Paintbrush grew in colourful tufts along the trail in between the Chaparral scrub bushes
10. A view from the crest of the ridge down to the desert on the east. This ridge causes the rain shadow which makes the desert so arid. It is into this furnace I will occasionally have to wander.
11. Sunset from the ridge at camp 4 before descending to the desert the next day.
12. The prickly pear cactus was in bloom everywhere after a moist winter
The heat of the desert was phenomenal compared to the higher Chaparral, which itself was hot. Here there was a serious scarcity of water
14. Large Barrel Cactus have concertined sides allowing them to increase their water storing capacity when water is more plentiful
15. Beavertail Cactus were also flowering well after the bountiful winters rains
16. After 6 days i finally reach the 100 mile milestone. Today the desert was mercifullu overcast but the sweaty toil and desert dust of the previous week are engrained
18. The final descent to the old ranch at Warner Springs took one across grassland where the bulbous seedheads were flowing in the wind. The tough leaved Live Oak interspersed this drying pasture.
19. Just before Warner Springs the trail went past the remarkable Eagle Rock. An outcrop which was sculpted by natural forces only into a replica of an eagle.
03. Granola R Us. Preparing 131 breakfast packets with granola and powdered milk.
04. The 130 daily food packs ready to box up and ship. Each box will also have the relevant maps, batteries, razors and even a clean pair of underpants.
05.The 19 resupply packages ready to ship to various to small country stores or cafes up the Pacific Crest Trail from South California to Washington. The big blue holdall is for Kennedy Meadows with 14 days food and winter gear to tackle the High Sierra’s
06. Shipping the resupply boxes via UPS to hamlets and small country stores on the Pacific Crest Trail from California to Washington
02. Extra Gear for the 500 Miles of the Sierra Nevada
01. PCT Big 4: Rucksack, Tent Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Mattress
About the Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail starts at the Southern Terminus on the Mexican Border by Campo and heads north along the spine of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges through California, Oregon and Washington for 2656 Miles to Manning Park in Canada.
The first section is the 700 miles of South California. It is often called the “Desert Section” but is more arid scrub than desert
The Sierra Nevada Mountains are one of the highlights of the PCT 03. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are one of the highlights of the PCT
The North California mountains are smaller than the Sierras but are still wild and rugged
The Oregon Landscape is dominated by massive volcanic mountains and occasional lakes, like Crater Lake pictured here
The Cascade Mountains of Washing are wild and remote and often receive snowfalls in early October which may make the trail impassable
10. In the depths of Big Creek Gorge with an intact section of the path. Frequently it dissappeared and I had to cross the creek pr walk down the middle of it.