Joon’s Thoughts about Hiking the PCT

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My name is Juniper Jubilee but everyone calls me Joon. I am nine years old and in the 4th grade. My favorite subjects in school are math and science. I like to play sports. My favorite sports are swimming and springboard diving off 1meter and 3 meter boards. I also tumble and do trampoline. Another sport I do with my family is backpacking. Every summer we go on a backpack trip. This summer we are going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, starting at the Mexican border and finishing at the Canadian border. There are things that I am looking forward about the PCT and there are things that I am not looking forward to.

The things that I am most looking forward to see on our hike is snow and lots of different animals. We live in San Diego where it does not snow. On our PCT hike, I want to find a patch of snow and have a snow ball fight with my dad and I want to build a snowman. On past hikes, I have seen a lot of different animals: marmots, pikas, a bobcat, grouse, pheasants, wild turkeys, deer, chipmunks, rabbits, coyotes, snakes, frogs and banana slugs. I want to see all these animals and more, especially bears, elk, and mountain goats. Other things I look forward on our hike is watching Will, my older brother, trying to catch fish with his hat. It is really funny. He has never had any luck. Another thing I want to do is to stand on top of Mount Whitney again. I was seven years old when I first made it to the top while we were hiking the John Muir Trail. I am always the shortest in my school classes, and for once, I felt really tall. I can’t wait to fly home at the end of our trip. I have never been on an airplane before. There is one more thing I am really happy about, and that is my dad gets to stay with us for 5 months with out having to go to work.

There are a lot of things I am not excited about our PCT hike. The biggest one is missing home. I will miss my warm, comfortable bed with all my stuffed animals. I will miss my friends who are Aurora, Alysha, Malia, J.D. and Sabrina, my cats Ollie and Oggie, my hamster Patches, and my room that I share with my brother. I will miss watching Gilligan’s Island and I Love Lucy. I will miss my diving friends and my coach Terry. I love home! I am afraid I will not get to have chocolate cake on my birthday or that I will not even have a birthday. I am not looking forward to mosquitoes, especially the ones in Oregon! They have super long stingers that go through clothes and even tennis shoes. I always get hundreds of red, itchy bumps. The thing I am most afraid of is thunder and lightening. The loud booms scare me and I am afraid the lightening will set the trees on fire and will burn us.

Even though I’ll miss my friends, my cats, my house, and being afraid of thunder and lightening, hiking the PCT is still worth the challenge. The PCT is going to be fun and scary at the same time. One thing I don’t have yet is a trail name and I would like to have one.

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Will’s Thoughts about Hiking the PCT

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I am Will Holston and I am 13 years old and am in seventh grade. This summer I will be hiking with my family on the Pacific Crest trail. Besides hiking, some of my favorite things to do is to be with my friends, play basketball, go to the trampoline park, have air soft gun wars in the neighborhood, and ride my skateboard. My mom will not allow me to ride my skate board again until we come back from our PCT hike because she suspects I have a broken wrist from skate boarding. She is afraid I will hurt myself worst which will prevent us from from hiking.

I am excited to hike the PCT, but there are things I am not looking forward to about the hike. The biggest one is not seeing and playing with my friends. My friends are David, Park, Tyler, William, Addison. I also am not looking forward to hiking in the desert. Hiking in temperatures over 100 degrees day after day does not sound fun, especially with backpacks that are really heavy with water. The water that we will be carrying to drink will not even be cold, it will be as hot as the air. Sometimes hiking can get to be boring. This usually happens on long, slow ups. While I hike, I usually think about things I want to do with my friends, make up stories, or figure out, in my head, how to make things. For the first time, on our PCT hike, I get to have music and books on tape to listen too. I am also nervous about all the possible things that can go wrong that we can’t plan for: rattlesnake bites, mountain lion attacks, poison oak and poodle dog bush encounters, snow storms in the Sierra Nevada’s and the Cascades, big river crossings, running out of food and water before the next food drop, hiking when hunting season’s begins, and trees falling down and hitting us on the head (this really happened to my mom).

There has only been five other kids that have hiked the trail. I like knowing that what I am about to do, not many people have ever done. I wonder about all the people I will meet and things I will see. I want to see wildlife like bears, elk and the salamanders of Northern California. I get to see a river where all the rocks around it and the river bed is obsidian. I will stand on the highest point in the continental United States and walk behind a waterfall. I want to catch a fish and have it for dinner. I look forward to eating the huckleberries and black berries of Oregon and Washington. I am going to witness and experience many amazing things. I have learned that in hiking, sometimes things get really hard to do, like climbing up a long steep miserable pass, is always worth the effort because it usually results in something good, like a view. I like mountain top views that go on forever. They are beautiful and they make me happy.

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PCT Permits and Passports

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Our PCT Permits came!  That was fast.  We applied for them on the 4th of February and received them in email two days later.  Now we just have to wait for April to come.  However, obtaining our passports was another story.  We have never had passport before, so all four of us had to go to the passport office to apply and be photographed.  After the application process is completed, it takes 4 to 6 weeks to get the passports.  We tried to get an appointment, but the first appointment was a month away which would be too late to get the passport before we leave on our trip. We found a place that would take walk-in appointments, so we were at their door 9 o’clock in the morning when they opened. The line of people was out the door.  We did not get out of there until 2:15, five hours later.  Nonetheless, we now have both permits and passports.

PCT Communicator

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We just found out that a photograph of Will crossing the suspension bridge of Woods Creek in the Sierras made the cover of the PCT Communicator!  It is not known yet if it will be the spring or summer issue.  Either way, we will miss it because we will be hiking the PCT.

Preparation Update

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We are working hard on getting our food together.  So far we have half of our dinners, almost half of our breakfasts, and a long way to go with lunches. We are hoping to finish all the food well before our departure date.

On Sunday I was loading the dehydrator with trays of wild rice, chili, and sausage when I noticed that it was only blowing cold air.  Upon closer inspection, I found that the heating coil in the dehydrator was not working.  I emptied all the trays while Ann looked on line for a new dehydrator.  We found one through Amazon for about $100 and ordered it.  When it arrives we can get back to finishing the food for the trip.

We received some bad news, The Hikers Heaven will not be opening this year.  Hikers Heaven is run by a family in Agua Dulce who would let the thru hikers stay at their house, pick up their packages, do laundry, and get showers.  It was a very important location for everyone hiking the trail.  It seems that the people who run it were accused of causing thru hikers to bunch up.  Which is not true.  The KOP does that.  So instead of causing alleged problems they closed their doors.  Now we have to come up with other plans.  Instead of a food drop at Agua Dulce, we will be having one at Lake Hughes.  Normally we would not go near Lake Hughes but the Powerhouse fire two years ago closed a section of the trail and to get around it we will hike right next to the Lake Hughes Post Office.

We filled out the paperwork for our passports cards.   Next we will file them.  For kids under 16, both parents have to go the filing office.  Hopefully we can get this paperwork finished before we leave.  We need the passport cards to get back into the US after finishing the PCT in Manning Park, Canada.