Scott and Rachel's Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike journal: Introduction, Feb 7

This is the first installment of a series of articles that chronicles this young Vancouver couple's 6-month wilderness backpacking adventure along the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada - 3,250 miles in all.

New Westminster - This Canadian/American couple met while cycling 3,250 miles across the United States. Now they are backpacking 2,650 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. They think this stuff is FUN?! Are they crazy?

Most people barely venture from their couch and when they do, they take the car and stay in a motel. Backpacking for six months and spending nights sleeping on the ground is not everyone's idea of a good time. But Rachel & Scott are cut from a unique cloth.

Their journey begins on the Mexican border on April 15th and they will walk the length of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) all the way to Canada - 2,650 miles in all. It will take them approximately 6 months to complete their trek. The PCT is one of the U.S. National Scenic Trails. It travels through the hot Sonoran & Mojave deserts, and crosses over the spectacular High Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges. It will be days between water supplies in the desert and the High Sierra trail crosses 200 miles of wilderness, unbroken by roads. Over it's length, the trail crosses 33 Federal Wildernesses, 24 National Forests, 7 National Parks and 5 State Parks.

You can't take 6-months off? Backpacking 2,600 miles isn't for you? If you have a computer, you can live vicariously by following them on their journey. Their web-site - - will feature maps showing their current location, a journal they'll post from the trail, a guest book, lots of information about the Pacific Crest Trail, information about their preparations, and if you join their "update list" - you'll receive emails from them when they update their site (and journal) from the trail, every few days.

What motivates these people?

"I've dreamed of hiking the PCT since 1983," says Scott (42), an American and semi-retired geophysicist, "But I've never had the time. I went straight from high school, to college, to graduate school and then full-time employment. Now I'm ready to play & travel. This time is for us."

For Rachel (31), a Canadian who's quitting her job as a correctional officer for this adventure, the PCT wasn't her dream, but it's grown on her. "I live for backpacking, hiking, cycle-touring and other such adventures," she says. "I was going to take a two-year leave of absence from work to share Scott's dream of adventure and travel, but with the recent Provincial government cutbacks, it made more sense to quit."

It makes sense to quit? Not everyone would feel comfortable about quitting their job to hike and sleep in the dirt.

Rachel and Scott are known as "thru-hikers" and are a special part of the culture of the PCT. Thru-hikers are the determined few who hike the trail in one season. This takes dedication, good planning & physical conditioning. They must make arrangements to have food and other supplies shipped to them along the way. Rachel and Scott are making and packaging their own meals by dehydrating dinners, beef jerky, fruit leathers, and soups. Thru-hikers often experience a deep spiritual connection with nature during their long long trip. The thru-hiker has heightened awareness of the environment through which they are traveling,becoming one with it. It's a special bond that connects all such thru-hikers.

Rachel and Scott met while cycling in a 3,250-mile charity bicycle ride benefiting the American Lung Association, in 1999. That event was called the "Big Ride". They were married a few months ago and it seems fitting that their honeymoon should involve an adventure on the PCT. They affectionately call their upcoming honeymoon the "Big Hike".

To read more about this intrepid couple, visit their personal adventure website -

"We live for adventuring," says Rachel, "and we've found that maintaining a website is a great way to share our adventuring with the World."

"Everyone loves an adventure," Rachel continues, "You'd be amazed at how many people we've met through our site. We've swapped stories, exchanged dehydration recipes &received lots of positive messages from readers. We know that readers will email words of encouragement &we're counting on those positive messages to ease the rigors of hiking every day for six months."

"Shoot, we're hoping they don't stop there!" quips Scott, "We're hoping that readers send us letters, notes or -even better- 'care packages' along the way! We're going to need encouragement of the gastronomical kind!"

Scott is referring to packages that contain homemade cookies, candy or other goodies that thru-hikers crave after being away from towns for extended periods. So even if you don't hike 2,600 miles this year, you can give Rachel & Scott your support by sending some goodies their way. They'll be hiking 20+ miles every day and burning 5,000 to 6,000 Calories, over twice what a people normally need.

If you're interested in sending a note (or care package) to Scott &Rachel while they're on the trail, they have posted their itinerary to their web-site, along with the postal addresses where they may be reached.

We wish them luck.

Snowfields, mosquitoes & bears - oh my! (Some honeymoon, eh?)