Some families are into baseball or football; The Ravens are into long distance hiking!
Tim and Ann are from the Northern San Diego, California. We were given the name The Ravens early on during our 1996 Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike. On that hike, most of the clothing we wore was black. When we hiked, we seemed to do everything in unison. Thus, we were dubbed The Ravens and it is a name we have kept ever since. However, we are no longer just a duo, we are a conspiracy of ravens that include sixteen year old Will and twelve year old Joon.
Tim and I have hiked over 13,400 miles since we met in college in 1982. Tim came from a family that has always done outdoor activities, while I did not. In fact, I stayed completely away from activities that involved any type of physical exertion. Nonetheless, I agreed to go on my first backpacking trip to the Sierra Nevada’s that Tim had planned in 1985. The trip was a loop from Yosemite Valley to Mammoth and then back to Yosemite. We each carried, what was typical for that time period, 50 pounds of gear inside external frame packs. We wore huge leather Dexter hiking boots and blue jeans. We only made it to Tuolumne Meadows before heading back to Yosemite. Despite ending the trip early, Tim had a great time. However, I thought otherwise: altitude sickness, multiple blisters on my feet, painful shoulders and hips, no toilet, too much dirt, swarms of mosquitoes, sleep deprivation because of the hard ground and the terror of every sound heard in the night was a bear coming to attack! Tim thought I was done with hiking. Nonetheless, once home, I realized something good had happened from the “horrible adventure.” I was exposed to the soothing and healing ways of nature, and felt for the first time that hard, laborious work is actually satisfying. The lure of the simple life a trail offers was too strong to ignore. I wanted to go again.
Since that very first hiking trip, Tim and I have hiked over 13,700 miles together. Some of the trails we hiked were the John Muir (which we have done 10 times), Wonderland in Washington, Theodore Solomons Route, Sierra High Route, Tahoe to Yosemite, and Pacific Crest Trail (twice). The last 7,000 of those 13,700 miles were hiked with our two children who can claim they have hiked the John Muir Trail three times and 2/3’s the length of Oregon, as well as full thru-hikes of the PCT and CDT. When our oldest was born, we were concerned that we would have to give up our passion for hiking. Nevertheless, we were determined to make hiking with children possible. We knew that gone were the days of hiking long trails, and walking 26 plus miles a day (until they got a lot older). The simplicity of hiking that we had grown accustomed to, was going to be far more complicated. Hopefully, if things were done properly during the early years of our children’s life regarding hiking, they would develop the same passion for hiking their parents do. Will and Joon have been out on trails since they were babies. At first, they were carried on Tim’s back.
Around age three and four, they started walking the trails on their own. When they were both five years old, they hiked a 50 mile loop around Three Sisters in Oregon carrying their own backpacks.
At first, they carried only their clothes and a small toy. However, Will’s backpack would always become heavy with all the rocks, bones, and gun shaped sticks he would collect along the way.
Tim and I have known before Will and Joon were born, we wanted someday to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with our children.
There is much to gain from such an endeavor. Often times, Tim and I have said, with our knowledge and experience of hiking, we would be irresponsible parents not to provide this powerful and enriching opportunity in our children’s lives. I am sure that some who read this will think we are daft for such a comment, but I also know, there are those who will understand. Over the years we have followed the journals of the kids that have hiked the PCT with their families: Bug, Scrambler, Sunshine, Monkey, Buddy with great admiration and a tinge of jealousy. We knew one day we would hike the trail. The question, for us, was always when? That question was finally answered in 2015 when we decided it was time for our family to thru-hike the PCT. Three of us finished, one did not. With only 395 miles to the Canadian border, Will broke his femur and thus unable to finish the trail that year.
During the following summer, all four Ravens hiked the length of Washington so Bling could complete is Pacific Crest Trail adventure.
168 days later we stepped into Canada. In some ways it was a harder trip, then the PCT. We learned a lot about hiking in adverse weather and how to push ourselves to achieve that final goal, the Canadian border.