When I was 14 years old, a WWII veteran and Jr. High Science teacher named Howard Genrich took his two sons and me on an almost month long backpack of the John Muir Trail (JMT). I credit that experience with giving me my life long love of the outdoors and backpacking. Howard’s son, Dan, and I have remained friends and continued backpacking together in college. During that time we talked about hiking the relatively new Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT is the longest scenic trail in the US running 2659 miles from the Mexican border near San Diego to the Canadian border in Washington State . . . but then life happened and the dream was postponed.
In 2006, my than 17 year old son David, myself and a group of scouts and scout leaders from Fullerton Boy Scout Troop 93 made the same trip of the JMT. It was a tremendous bonding experience for my son and I and our Scout friends. Something I will always cherish.
In 2016, three Scout leaders and three Scouts left Fullerton to begin another 241 mile backpack of the John Muir Trail. But we had an additional goal of raising awareness and funds for a group of students named the Joya Scholars www.joyascholars.org . Three weeks later our group of six finished the trail in Yosemite Valley. Due to the generosity of some very special people we were able to raise $4,116 for the Joya Scholars. That money provided mentoring tutoring and SAT/ACT preparation that resulted in several students graduating this June and being accepted to Fullerton College, CSUF, UC Riverside, Chapman University and similar colleges.
The dream of completing the 2659 mile Pacific Crest Trail has not died. It was only postponed. In preparation for this summer's backpacking season our adult leaders have completed a 50 mile portion of the PCT beginning at the Mexican border. Combined with our 220 miles of the JMT (part of the PCT) we have almost 300 miles of the PCT completed.
Starting July 22, 2017, the same crew from last year will complete a 75 mile portion of the PCT from Sonora Pass to Echo Lake. Throughout the fall and winter months additional segments of the PCT will be backpacked over weekend trips. How long will it take to complete all 2659 miles? I don’t know. I just know that we will continue to backpack one step at a time until that journey of 2659 miles is completed.
We will dedicate this section hike of the PCT to building additional awareness and funds to support the Joya Scholars. Will you join us in the journey and donate to Scouting Dollars for Scholars?