From a rave in Belden to a church in Chester, Ratatouille hikes and hitches his way through northern California to the Oregon border– and defends his camp from a bear. Really, it was a bear this time! Bluegrass in Belden. A mysterious shoe appears. Poop talk in Sierra City. A conversation with another hiker about being behind schedule on a thru-hike.
Next week Trailside Radio will take the week off as Ratatouille attempts to hike the entirety of Oregon in 14 days– 32.5 miles a day! Trailside Radio will return the following week to share that journey.
Welcome to The Hostel California in Bishop, where dozens of hikers rendezvous, congregate, linger, and have their willpower tested as they attempt to return to the trail. 20 hikers take a U-Haul to San Francisco to attend the Pride Celebration and get stopped by police along the way. Thunderstorms. Fireworks. How not to make a jello pool. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
Ratatouille and Mr. Universe brave snakes, bears, cows, and giardia to reach Kennedy Meadows. A lingering injury forces Ratatouille to make a difficult decision. Featuring an interview with Shawn “Highwalker” Snyder, who has spent much of his life on the Pacific Crest Trail. Also, a glimpse behind the scenes: How to podcast from the trail.
Ratatouille visits Casa de Luna and talks with Terrie Anderson, trail angel extraordinaire. A 10-mile drunken night hike tests Ratatouille’s ukulele abilities. A podcast rivalry escalates into war. The debut of Hiker Haikus.
For 18 years, Donna and Jeff Saufley hosted PCT hikers at their home in Agua Dulce, California. They take the time to share their story on Trailside Radio, talking about how 50 hikers per season grew to 50 hikers per night, and why they made the decision to close Hiker Heaven.
Ratatouille encounters a rattlesnake and watches other hikers hitchhike past him. Interviews include a part-time trail angel, a group of tired hikers, and a young military veteran hiking as a way to cope with PTSD. A hiker entertains others at bedtime with his flute playing, and Ratatouille performs an original song about the PCT with his newfound ukulele skills.
Ratatouille heads north and interviews other hikers. Some are hiking for charitable causes. Others are hiking with family. One is making art… naked. One is airlifted out, but returns to tell the tale. An episode full of dehydration, fatigue, nosebleeds, and determination.
The song “Sunrise, Sun Arise” was written and performed by Lojo Russo. Used with permission.
Third and final episode of interviews from the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off 2015. Paul “Nohawk” Hacker and Bob Riess talk about the history of the PCT Kick Off and the legacy of Greg “Strider” Hummel. Teddi Boston talks about hiking the PCT southbound in 1976 and the work she does now to protect it. Ravensong (Carolyn Burkhart) talks about hiking the PCT northbound in 1976 and being a trail angel today. Also: Matt “Double Tap” Parker, 30-Pack of Backcountry Ninjas, and Spartan of Zero Day Resupply. Next week: Ratatouille heads north!
It’s official. I have my permit. In only ten weeks I’ll be at the Mexican border to start my 2,660-mile journey northward. Right now, that day feels like it’s a lifetime away, but if I’m not careful, it will be here before I’m ready.
Even though I have a fair amount of backpacking experience, I’ve been spending absurd amounts of time researching the trail. There are plenty of books to read, documentaries to watch, and online forums to browse. I’ve talked with people who have done the hike before, some of them multiple times. I attended a class at a local outdoor gear store. (Shout out to Gary at the Mountain Shop!) I’ve connected with other people who will also be doing their first thru-hike this year. I’m starting to develop a severe case of information overload.
Fortunately, I already have most of my gear. I recently bought a new backpack and I’m about to upgrade my hammock, but most of what I’m carrying will be the same equipment I’ve used in the past. While this will be my first long-distance thru-hike, I’ve done solo hikes as long as 300 miles, which has given me plenty of time to find my hiking style and dial in my gear. This definitely gives me a leg up in the preparation department.
My earliest camping experiences go back to my childhood in Minnesota. My mother took my brother and me on trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area from a very young age, usually with other friends or family in tow. We’d paddle and portage from lake to lake for days at a time. My mother was (and is) an experienced wilderness adventurer who enjoyed occasional solo trips as well. She taught us how to appreciate the natural world while having fun and staying safe. These memories stand out more clearly than any others from my youth. Jumping out of a canoe to swim in the middle of a lake. Eating freshly caught fish roasted on the campfire. The magical sound of loons singing at night.
Even though I grew up in the suburbs, my childhood was filled with opportunities to appreciate nature. Cross-country skiing. Ice fishing. Visiting my grandparents’ farm. Hikes through local wilderness preserves. Family road trips. Camping with friends as a teenager.
With my brother in Alaska. (I’m on the left!)
I moved to Oregon on my own at the age of 19. It wasn’t long before I heard the wilderness calling my name. I figured I had enough experience that I could just head out onto the trail without advice or guidance. Fortunately I did know enough to keep myself safe. What I didn’t know was how to pack for a trip when you have to carry everything on your back. I was used to packing more than one bag per person, and carrying it all in a canoe. It didn’t take long for me to learn from my mistake.
Trail angels Andrea and Jerry Dinsmore have been hosting hikers for years at their Washington home, which is known as Hiker Haven. Ratatouille visits Hiker Haven and talks to the Dinsmores about the challenges of being full-time trail angels and how the forest fires in Washington have affected the PCT this year. He also chats […]
PCT hiker "Properly Chill" talks about how she got involved with Hike the Pipe, a protest against a proposed natural gas pipeline that would cross southern Oregon. Ratatouille discusses PCT Days with event organizer Jason "Neighbor Jay" Waicunas. Interviews with other PCT hikers in northern Oregon. LINKS! Hike the Pipe on Facebook No LNG Coalition […]
On September 24, 2015, Heather "Anish" Anderson set the new speed record for a self-supported thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, becoming the first person ever to simultaneously hold the record for both the AT and PCT. Less than 3 days later, she sat down with Trailside Radio to talk about her records and the obstacles […]
Interviews with people hiking southbound on the Pacific Crest Trail. While hiking north to Cascade Locks, Ratatouille bumps into Par 3 of the podcast Sounds of the Trail, and they simultaneously interview each other at PCT Days. An on-trail musical performance by hiker Gabriella "Ukulele" Smith. LINKS! Sounds of the Trail MUSIC: Gabriella Smith The […]
Ratatouille attempts the Oregon Challenge-- hiking 456 miles in 14 days-- but exhaustion and dehydration have other plans. Forest fires cause a trail closure near Crater Lake, but a familiar face comes to the rescue. Interviews with artistic and musical hikers at Shelter Cove. LINKS! Josh Jack on Tumblr MUSIC: Whirl'd (Boomer's band) MUSIC: Alexis […]