Pandemic Crest Trail: Thru Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in the Summer of COVID-19

Hello, my trail name is Masochist and I am one of the dirty rebels who thru hiked the Pacific Crest Trail during the summer of 2020.

In the highly uncertain early days of the shutdown, talk about whether it was responsible or even possible to hike this year reached some slightly excessive levels of vitriol. Now that it's several months down the line and we've all hopefully regained a bit of perspective I feel it's important to relate the thought process leading up to my decision to hike and also document how COVID-19 actually affected life on trail this year. Because I still see people online repeating statements that are just wrong.

I started down in Campo on May 5th when things were past the peak of uncertainty but still very much up in the air. I finished at the Canadian border on September 29 when life still wasn't back to whatever passes for normal these days. Along the way I encountered heat waves, earthquakes, landslides, fires, unhealthy levels of smoke, rain, and finally a bit of snow. And for what it's worth the only disease I personally encountered or even heard of others having on trail was waterborne giardia. 

As far as I'm aware I didn't get anyone sick or contribute to anyone getting sick though that's impossible to know for sure and I would personally feel horrible if I had. I set out taking what felt like an appropriate amount of precaution and despite the early weeks of uncertainty this became the best year I could have asked for to do the trail.