Southern California Desert: Thru Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in the Summer of COVID-19

May 5th to June 19th
702 miles, 46 days
Campo to Kennedy Meadows 
[Mileage Log]

During the summer of 2020 while absolutely nothing was going on in the world I thru hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. Since all I had with me was my phone I wasn't able to do my usual style of blog posts on this site and had to settle for posting pictures on my Instagram / Facebook story quasi daily (which you can still see archived by clicking on the little circles here.

That still left me wanting to better capture the experience especially since this year was so unique. I don't have the temperment for a typical vlog (which would have been a lot of "today my feet hurt and I'm tired") so I decided that I'd do a post for each major section relating some of the highlights of my adventure. This covers the first 700 miles of the trail from Campo up to Kennedy Meadows. Stay tuned for posts about the Sierra, Northern California, Oregon, and of course Washington.

The Southern California section of the Pacific Crest Trail tends to get a lot of flack from hikers due to the high temperatures and lack of water. In fact it seems like so many people are so focused on rushing through it in anticipation of the Sierra they don't properly appreciate all it has to offer.  

While it is labeled as desert the trail runs through a wide variety of terrain. Desert scrub gives way to local mountains, lakes, hot springs, big grassy plains, and so much more. Tired of what you're seeing? Wait a day and it'll probably change. (Well, except for around Tehachapi where if you're anything like me you're going to get really really sick of wind farms!)

Along the way I did encounter heat waves, earthquakes, water borne illness, an achilles injury that almost ended my hike, and the occasional curfew due to civil unrest. But looking back it's the section I look back at the most fondly since it was such an iconic start to the trail.

Planning & Preperation For Hiking The Pacific Crest Trail

Whenever I talk to people about my 2,653+ mile 149 day thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail they almost always comment on how it must have taken a massive amount of planning and want to know how you can do such a big trip and return to a normal life afterwards.

Well I'm here to share how it doesn't take near as much planning as you might think and how I decided normal life is overrated, threw caution to the wind, and had one of the most amazing experiences of my life thus far.