Even though we are only going 455 of the 2650 miles of the PCT (the mileage on the above sign on Mt. Hood is clearly incorrect), planning this trip is taking an enormous amount of preparation. We have five weeks in which to complete it. This should be more than enough time. We are starting on the Oregon/California border southwest of Ashland and ending by walking halfway across the Bridge of the Gods. We must carry everything we need on our backs.

Obviously, we can't pack enough food for five weeks, so we will make stops to resupply. Most of our resupply points are in remote places without access to towns, so we will be mailing packages to ourselves at various resorts along the way. We will have to rely on people, like my daughter, to drop us off in the middle of nowhere and meet us along the trail to bring Misha to us.  (No dogs allowed on the rim trim at Crater Lake. Also, there are a few rough volcanic sections where he won’t be able to hike.)

All these things take a lot of coordination. There is always the fear of not getting it right, going hungry or missing rendezvous points. So, we dedicated a corner of our bedroom to planning.


The other day, Kirk was telling our friend Ben about it. 

"We call it our war room!" said Kirk.

"We do?" I asked.

"Well, I do," he said.

The “War Room” consists of one of two maps of the Oregon section, Southern Oregon on a 1:63,360 scale. (That is, one mile per one inch of map), various items of gear, our trail guide books and our “War Board” showing our projected itinerary. We chose to use a white board so we could easily move things around as we gather more information.

Our hike starts on Donomore Pass and ends on the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks. The last week is aggressive in mileage, but we will be “in the zone” long before we reach that point. 

We are using the book, Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail Oregon, which has already broken the trail up into six sections with mileage goals per day depending on how long you have to hike it. We will be attempting to hike it in the shortest amount of time.


The book describes the terrain, notes water sources or lack thereof, campsites and scenic opportunities, as well as proximity to towns or other points of civilization etc., It is a valuable tool in planning our hike.

We have planned our resupply points where we will mail packages to ourselves and where we will find some stores. We are planning our rest days, called zero days, where we will not hike at all. Right now, we have two zero days planned. One at Crater Lake where we will relax and explore the rim, the other at Big Lake Youth Camp, which is just before Santiam Pass. (I am super excited about this one because they have amazing vegetarian food!)

The most important thing that will happen at Big Lake is that Misha will be joining us to hike the remainder of the trail. 

I am looking forward to it as well, but I am half excited and half torn up. Excited to see if I can do it and for all the experiences along the way but torn up for the pending separation from Misha and he from me.


The date of the hike is closing in quick. We are filled with excitement and anxiety. Kirk can’t wait to “drop off the grid” for a month, although we will be sending updates whenever we can, so that you can follow along with our hike.


Thank you in advance for your support.

"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt."

John Muir

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All photos by Kirk and Marea Bartram unless otherwise stated.