Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The PCT Thru-Hikers!

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,663 mile hiking trail that stretches all the way from the Mexican border to the Canadian border through California, Oregon, and Washington. Some intrepid souls attempt to hike the entire length in one season. These amazing people are called "thru-hikers". This summer my cousin Evan is among them. Although he isn't called Evan anymore. Within a few weeks on the trail most hikers are christened with a new name; their trail name. My cousin Evan is now Spud. Spud is blogging about his experiences on the trail when he gets a chance. It is good reading and can be found here: Spud's Blog

The PCT runs very close to Quincy. Just 15 miles west of town the trail crosses the road at Buck's Summit. Then it crosses Hwy. 70 down the Feather River Canyon at Belden. When you reach this point in the trail you are nearly half-way along. 1289 miles to be exact. The four-day High Sierra Music Festival was in town on July 5-8. There were a lot of "rock stars" but they all travelled here by car. The real rock stars are people like my cousin and his three hiking friends who walked 1289 miles to get here. And guess what? They are here! Check out this gorgeous bunch! This is after showers and laundry. Should have taken a before and after.
From left: Spud, Oasis, Honey Bear, and Histo
If you are curious about their trail names as I was, I'll illuminate you. Food is a big topic of conversation out on the trail. Spud kept talking about how much he loved and missed potatoes. Oasis is known for carrying a surplus of water. Honey Bear, well, she loves honey. Once she bought one of those honey bears full of honey for the trail but it didn't last long. Histogram (Histo) got his name because he was making graphs of trail progress (math geek). So there you have it.

I was warned about the appetites of PCT thru-hikers. Spud and his friends average from 20 to 30 miles per day. They eat everything they can get their hands on and still lose weight. My cousin weighed in this morning. He was shocked to see that he has lost nearly 30 pounds since setting out on the trail months ago. For dinner last night I made potatoes, of course. I mean Spud was going to be here! I found some fine looking freshly dug organic russets at our co-op. I baked those and had garden chives, and cheddar, and butter, and sour cream for topping. If I had been cooking just for our family, that would have been dinner. But we also grilled corn and zucchini and onions and chicken and sausages. And, of course, there was beer. Then for dessert there was homemade ice cream and warm cherry compote. I'm pretty sure they got enough to eat. This morning was a different story. I made them all French toast with yogurt and various toppings. They all licked their plates clean and then sat at the table as if waiting for the second course. I sent them to the donut shop. : )

Spud cradling a baked potato

The hikers eating dinner on the patio. Our son made sure he was
right in the middle of them. He is so excited to have them here!

Histo's plate minus the piece of corn he is eating.
Surely one of the bonuses of being a thru-hiker is a genuine appetite born of physical exertion. Another is the potential to develop lifelong friendships with fellow hikers. These four are like a family and their bond strengthened by shared experiences is palpable. They are enjoying a "zero day" (no miles hiked) today and we'll drop them back in Belden tomorrow so they can continue the trek north. We are envious of their adventure but maybe also a tad relieved that it is they and not us who have set such an ambitious goal for the summer, even if our appetite does suffer.


P.S. A few people have told me that they have been unable to leave comments on this blog lately. Sorry about that. If it doesn't resolve itself soon, I will contact Google for advice.


  1. Thanks Karen
    Nice to see all those smiling faces, and especially Spud of course. :-)

    1. Said good-byes and happy trails this morning...... They really were a delightful bunch, especially Spud of course : )

  2. Thanks, Karen. Between our phone call while you were preparing and reading this post I feel almost as though I were there.

  3. Hello Karen, We both loved the PCT crew post and especially the photos. Thank you for taking such good care of everyone in the food and comfort department. I know that Spud (aka, Evan) will treasure the memory far into the future. Cousin bonding is priceless, something he has missed out on over the years (shame on us for that). What did Leo think of the invasion? Love from Oregon.

    1. Leo was ridiculously excited to have them here. He was nearly beside himself at times. Thanks for the comment! : )

  4. Hey Farm Girl and Family,
    found your site and reminds me to embrace life. Thanks. Am sitting and listening to Splended Table on NPR and looking at your site FOOD how wonderful. The show main topic is the globel politics of food. Anyways wanted to share the Peanut Chicken recipe from a Southern magazine called Gardens&Guns (only in the south) but it is a great recipe. So here goes.
    Peanut Chicken
    5Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
    3 green onions, white&green parts, chopped
    3Tbsp. soy sauce
    2Tbsp. rice vinegar
    1/2tsp. cayenne pepper
    1 3to4 lb. chicken
    1 1" piece peeled fresh ginger
    2 garlic cloves
    cilantro to taste
    Oven 450
    Combine in small bowl: peanut butter, half of the onion, soy sauce, vinigar, cayenne. Loosen the skin of chicken and spread 1/2 of the paste between the skin & meat. Rub rest of paste all over outside. Put remaining onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro into the cavity. Roast breast down for 20 min. Reduce temp. to 325 and flip chicken and baste another 30to40 min.
    That is it. Hope your family loves it as much as mine.

    Was great sending time with you all, and thank you for your wonderful hospitality.

    1. Cat, thanks for the comment and the recipe! Can't wait to try it. Bet it is especially great made with a homegrown fresh chicken like you raise. I wish we had a more consistent source of clean chicken. Perhaps we will also raise our own one day.....

      It was amazing having you here. Love, FG

  5. Is Spud your cousin on your dad's side? He looks a bit like your dad. Great post and as always I enjoy your posts. maggiejean

  6. Hi maggiejean,
    Yes, Spud is sidepocket's brother's son and yes, there is a resemblance. I appreciate your readership and comments! -FG