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PCT Section Adoption

A trail-sized bundle of joy

I’ve adopted! — a section of the Pacific Crest Trail 😀

After a few years of working on Pacific Crest Trail Association trail crews (and several missed attempts due to wildfires, work schedules, and COVID), I’m taking the next step, getting serious about this relationship, and committing to adopting 19.8 miles of the PCT between Dorothy Lake Pass (Mile 997.1 as of 2021) and Sonora Pass (Mile 1016.9). That’s the section running from the northern boundary of Yosemite National Park up to California Highway 108.

It feels like fate that this section was available, because these were some of my favorite miles of the whole trail. After a few hundred miles of Sierra Nevada granite and forests, this section climbs up to a sparse lunar landscape of wide open ridge lines and huge views in every direction. You can actually look back south across Yosemite’s peaks and see all the way to Mount Ritter, which is south of Yosemite at Thousand Island Lake. Hikers anticipate the High Sierra and John Muir Trail sections as beautiful—which they are—but this spot was an entirely unexpected treat during my thru-hike.

As a section adopter, I’m getting out to this part of the trail when possible—ideally a few times a year—to identify any spots that might need repair or maintenance. Some adopters then do minor maintenance themselves, or they can help organize trail crews to tackle larger projects.

Over the July 4th holiday weekend, Andrea and I covered about 13 miles of this section in an out-and-back hike from Sonora Pass. It was half trail scout and half shakedown hike in preparation for our upcoming Wonderland Trail hike. We saw 49 NOBO thru-hikers (including 38 headed to Sonora Pass on the 3rd!), 27 day/weekend hikers, three dogs, and two deer. There was an impressive lightning and thunder storm on Saturday night while we were camped down in Kennedy Canyon (which also had an overabundance of mosquitoes), but otherwise perfect weather.

I recorded a few spots that are suffering from erosion, one tree leaning into the trail, and one broken trail sign. Next time I bring a saw!

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