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My daughter is entering her last year of college. I asked her what she wanted to do after graduating and her response was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I don’t suppose that is a common post-college ambition, but I thought she had a pretty cool idea.

The Pacific Crest Trail is usually just referred to as the PCT. It is one of the longest hiking trails in the United States, reaching from Canada to Mexico for 2,650 miles. It is estimated that approximately 1,200 people hike the full length of the trail each year.

A couple weeks ago I was camping at Steamboat Lake which is a picturesque waypoint along the PCT. At just over 4,000 feet elevation the mornings were a bit chilly, but it is quite a lovely lake with ducks, trout, dragonflies, and lily pads. Here’s a pic of pretty little Steamboat Lake's glassy surface, followed by a more close-up pic of Steamboat Mountain that overlooks it:
Water Plant Water resources Sky Mountain

Sky Plant Mountain Plant community Natural landscape

The young campers next to us at Steamboat Lake were from Tennessee and hiking the PCT on their way south from Canada to Mexico. Great folks. In the morning we woke up and hiked south along the PCT for a few miles, and ran into an old guy from Montreal (in his 70s) who was hiking the PCT alone from San Diego north to Canada. He was an inspiration!

After the PCT we decided to hike to the top of Steamboat Mountain (5,387 feet). Kind of a steep climb, average gradient over 20%, but really incredible views of the Cascade Mountains (especially Mt. Adams). Ran into a mama black bear with a cub along that trail, but fortunately she ran the other way; all the same, I can tell you I was glad to be armed with a 475 Linebaugh!

The number of beautiful viewpoints along the PCT in California, Oregon, and Washington is almost endless. I’m pretty thrilled that my daughter plans to hike the whole thing. That said, I'll be insisting she bring bear spray with her, that's for sure.
 

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That said, I'll be insisting she bring bear spray with her, that's for sure.
Just my 2 cents, but I would hook her up with something more effective than bear spray.

On a side note I know an elderly gentleman near the PCT at Big Bear and he works his hind end off strategically positioning jugs of water for the hikers down on the lower end of the PCT. He also bags up a gazillion bags of trash and refuse left on the trail and extinguishes numerous still smoldering campfires.
 

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Just curious, but how does she plan on funding this goal ???
 
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