The 2,650 mile long Pacific Crest Trail (or PCT) spans the length of the Western United States. It traverses some of the most spectacular landscape on the planet from the high desert of the Mojave to the frigid, snow-covered North Cascades, from the lush forests of Oregon to the High Sierra. There is little wonder that the PCT has become the world’s premier walking trail.
Two Humboldt County authors, Rees Hughes and Corey Lewis, have collected nearly 100 stories that explore the people, places, and history of the Pacific Crest Trail in the two-volume The Pacific Crest Trailside Reader. The Pacific Crest Trailside Readers bring together short excerpts from classic works of regional writing with boot-tested stories from the trail.
On Saturday, March 24th, 2012, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the College of the Siskiyous, in Life Science Room 3, Hughes and Lewis will read stories from The Readers and show images representative of the length of the trail. This free event is sponsored by the COS Creative Writing Program and the Mt. Shasta Trail Association.
At the heart of these anthologies are modern day trail tales—stories taken from PCT hikers that recount trailside humor and traditions, “trail angels” and “trail magic,” encounters with wildlife and wild weather, stories of being lost and found, and unusual incidents along the Pacific Crest Trail in Northern California and also Southern California, Oregon, and Washington. Revealing a larger context are historical accounts of events such as Moses Schallenberger’s winter on Donner Pass and or Joaquin Miller’s story about the battle of Castle Crags; Native American myths and legends such as that of Lost Lake near Mount Hood; and selections from highly-regarded environmental writers who have captured the region in print, including Mary Austin in The Land of Little Rain; John Muir in The Mountains of California; and David Rains Wallace in The Klamath Knot. “The stories are situated geographically along the trails,” Lewis said. “If you happen to be hiking through the Russian Wilderness, flip open the book and read from authors who wrote about the area.”
Both Hughes and Lewis have spent considerable time on the PCT. Hughes, who first walked the Washington section of the PCT in 1981, noted that, “we both have had a long-term love affair with the PCT and felt that this was a perfect way to give back.” All author royalties are being returned to the support and protection of the PCT.