PCT Southbound

Go your own way

Pippi Longstocking

Backpacking Experience
Started backpacking about 10 years ago at the beginning of highschool. Since then did quite a few trips from two days to two weeks. Before the trail had never hiked more than 17 miles in one day with a full pack

Didn't have time to train but runs and bikes regularly and was in good shape for hiking

July 4th from Rainy Pass. Went directly south instead of tagging the border.

Date Reached So. Kennedy Meadows  
October 8th

Hike Result
Successfully reached the southern terminus on Nov. 3rd


Pippi Longstocking was finishing up a post-graduate internship in Nepal when Grahamps, one of her college friends, managed to convince her to join him on the PCT. They started from Rainy Pass and went south directly from there, taking about 4 weeks to finish Washington, 2.5 weeks covering Oregon, and the remaining 2.5 months in California. Pippi and Grahamps were lucky to have some friends and family meet them on different sections of the trail, and they also enjoyed meeting other SoBo hikers on the way. Pippi’s favorite sections of trail were (in order from N to S) Glacier Peak Wilderness, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Goat Rocks, Three Sisters, and the High Sierras. She loved being in the mountains all day, sleeping under the stars every night, meeting other hikers, and being disconnected from off-trail stresses.


"Overall, I was happy to hike the trail with a friend. Fortunately, Grahamps and I had done a lot of hiking together in the past and knew that our hiking styles and personalities would be relatively compatible. There are numerous benefits to hiking with a partner; it’s safer, you can share some gear, it helps prevent loneliness, and it’s neat to share such an amazing adventure with someone else. However, there can also be many challenges; people have different hiking paces, it can be hard to stick together if one person gets injured, and being with the same person every day for 2650 miles could be a little annoying. Before starting the trail with a partner, make sure your hiking styles are compatible and have a frank discussion about what to do if hiking together isn’t quite working out. Maybe plan to hike apart for a week or two so that you can experience what it’s like to be on the trail alone."


"Like many other PCT hikers, we decided to make the day trip to go up Mt. Whitney. We stashed some of our food and gear in the bear box at the Crabtree campsite to lighten our loads, as is common practice amongst thru-hikers attempting Whitney. Unfortunately, when we returned later that day, we found that someone had stolen our tarp (our only shelter), a thermarest air mattress, and a few other smaller items. Luckily there was a backcountry ranger at the Crabtree station who loaned us a tent and sleeping pad to use for the night, which was quite necessary since it got down to the single digits F. We were very surprised and disappointed to have this happen; previously, we had had only positive encounters with others on the trail and had perhaps become too trusting of other hikers. We had to hike out to the nearest town and spent a few days and a lot of money replacing our gear before we could get back on trail. However, even though we had some bad luck, I was very heartened by the reaction of the other PCT and JMT hikers and trail-angels in the area who offered their support and even donated some of their own gear to help us get back on track. Unexpected obstacles do happen on the trail, but in general, the good always manages to outweigh the bad, and there will always be other people willing to lend a hand."


"Honestly I didn’t really like So Cal. After coming through such amazing scenery in the High Sierras, I found the desert to be a huge disappointment. I wasn’t very interested in the scenery, didn’t like the dryness and seemingly perpetual wind, and was ready for the trail to be over. To ease the boredom, I relied heavily on audiobooks and podcasts, but the days still felt incredibly monotonous. Just south of Wrightwood we ran into 3 other SoBos whom we had hiked with earlier in Nor Cal. Hiking with others made the days go by a bit faster, so we opted to stick with them for the final days of the trail. There are, of course, PCTers who do like the desert, but unless you’re one of those people, you will have to rely heavily on willpower to persevere through the desert. Hiking with friends through So Cal definitely helps."


"Take the time to enjoy the best parts of the trail (even if it means putting in hard miles in the “boring” sections so that you can take it a bit easy in the more beautiful sections). Side trips and detours can also be worth an extra few days of hiking. I highly recommend side trips in the Sierras to climb Half Dome and Mt. Whitney.

The trail can be exhausting and uncomfortable. Your body gets tired, your mind gets tired, and sometimes, all you want is a fresh salad, a warm shower, and a soft bed. But trust me, all of the pain and discomfort is worth it when you get to the end and can feel the satisfaction of completing such a difficult journey. Focus on the positives to help you get through the difficulties. Set small goals for yourself so that you have something to motivate you each day and can feel as though you are accomplishing something.

Treat your body well. Stretching every night can help prevent injuries. If you feel an injury starting to form, reduce miles or take a few days of rest to let your body heal. Give yourself good fuel; a lot of people revert to eating almost nothing but candy and junk foods, but my body always felt much better when I filled it with healthier trail foods."