January 11 2018
A runner shares a personal essay documenting her years as "the runner" in rural South Dakota.
For many, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is an ambitious bucket-list check, whether you complete a section or the entire 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada. Ryan “Skippy” Smith, partner to Caitlyn Pilkington, our former web editor, completed the first 700 miles of the popular singletrack this past spring. Departure from the southern-most terminus, known as “Terminus Tom,” offers hikers best practices to keep this trail fresh and clean for everyone to enjoy. “Pack out what you pack in” is a known saying, meaning leave no trace that you ever walked, ate, slept or answered nature’s call along the way. As Smith says, “I enjoy nature because of its purity and will do my best to keep it that way.” Hiking the PCT also means passing through some of California’s most beautiful parks like Sequoia, Cleveland, Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests just in the first 700 miles.
Of course, traveling such an expansive distance—with limited connection to the rest of the world—lends itself to some pretty fantastic views. Here are some of the glorious snapshots of Smith’s journey from Campo, Calif. to Kennedy Meadows in Inyokern, Calif. (ever seen Wild?).