The Pacific Crest Trail is a continuous 2,695 mile long trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada. It may be impossible to pinpoint the first person to propose the Pacific Crest Trail, but published accounts acknowledge the following people: Catherine Montgomery at the State Normal School in Bellingham, Washington; a former Supervisor of Recreation for the U.S. Forest Service, Fred W. Cleator; and Clinton C. Clarke of Pasadena, California. According to author and mountaineer Joseph T. Hazard, Catherine Montgomery suggested the idea of a border-to-border trail to him in 1926. W. Cleator, who oversaw the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service, outlined Oregon’s Skyline Trail (a seminal link of the PCT) in 1920 and extended that trail to Oregon’s north and south borders. Cleator also initiated plans for a similar trail in Washington. Clinton C. Clarke, founder of the Pasadena Playhouse and chairman of the Mountain League of Los Angeles, however, is often called the “father” of the PCT because he organized the Pacific Crest Trail System Conference in 1932 to promote the concept of a border-to-border trail.
Members of the conference included the Boy Scouts, YMCA, Sierra Club, Los Angeles County Department of Recreation, California Alpine Club, Mazamas of Portland, Mountaineers of Seattle, Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, and the Shasta-Cascade Wonderland Associations. And with board members such as renowned nature photographer Ansel Adams as a member of the executive committee. After many years of hard work, on February 8, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson called for development and protection of a balanced system of trails to help protect and enhance the total quality of the outdoor environment, as well as to provide much needed opportunities for healthful outdoor recreation. Soon after, the Secretary of the Interior, Stewart L. Udall requested the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation to take the lead in a nationwide trail study. A four-member steering committee, representing four federal agencies, was appointed to conduct the study. The results were documented in a volume entitled “Trails for America” and were published in December 1966. Trails for America formed the basis for the original language of what was to become the National Trails System Act, passed by Congress on October 2, 1968.
The Pacific Crest Trail, which is 2,663 miles long, was officially completed in 1993. Running from Mexico to Canada, the PCT passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks. Today, permits are given to hikers from all over the world attempting to complete the trail in its entirety. Many of those that set off with that intention, do not make it to Canada. Of the 1,000 permits given to hikers each year, 1-2 folks attempt to complete it on horseback.
In 1968 Barry Murray, proposed to his family that they should get back to the basics. So in 1969, he and his family (his wife and three children) set off on a journey that would last them two seasons on the trail. The Murrays were the first to the ride the full length of the PCT. And have since inspired many others to make the journey either on horseback or on foot.
Trent and Mariah will be doing the PCT mostly unsupported and will be starting from Campo, Ca on the Mexican border. From there they will travel north along the Pacific Crest winding their way through California, Oregon, and Washington ultimately finishing at the US/Canada border. This 2,600 mile journey will take them roughly 4 to 5 months to complete.