Dean Paschall, of AWR, finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on September 12, 2015. It took 150 days, just under 5 months, which was better than his expected 5 1/2 months. He thru-hiked the PCT from Mexico to Canada for a total of 2650 miles, starting on April 16, 2015.
“Adventures Within Reach was so honored to sponsor this amazing adventure. We are so excited that Dean made it to the finish and in great style,” said Robin Paschall, President of Adventures Within Reach. “It was much more challenging than any of us imagined. He had to overcome physical challenges, bad weather, and forest fires. While this adventure is not “within reach” for most people, it exemplifies adventure travel with activity, culture, and nature. It has been inspiring to watch his progress along the way.”
Dean describes his experience:
“The first part of the Pacific Crest Trail is in the desert in southern California. Some days were so hot, I had to hike at night in cooler temps to preserve precious water resources. This section was particular hard because water was so scarce. In some cases, 42 miles between natural water resources which meant I had to carry a lot of extra weight in water, up to 8 liters or 16 lbs in water alone. This made trip planning critical to make sure I preserved enough water to reach the next source. However, some nights in the desert were also extremely cold, I encountered more snow in the mountains of the desert than in the high peaks of the Sierra.
“The second section of the hike was in the Sierra Mountains in California also known as the John Muir Trail. This was one of my favorite sections because I am very familiar with this area from my years as a back-country ranger in Yosemite. It was also exciting to summit Mt. Whitney [At 14,505 feet, Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the continental U.S.].
“Oregon was made difficult because all the nearby forest fires. I was often forced to hike with my bandanna over my face because of all the smoke and ash in the air.
“Although my life on the trail consisted of waking up at 4:45am every morning, hiking a marathon (20+ miles), finding a place to sleep at dusk, and getting up the next day to do it again, there was never a day when I would not feel like hiking. I saw remote wilderness areas that few people ever get to see, but probably the best part of the hike were the many amazing people I met along the way — new friends for life. It was the most challenging and yet the most satisfying physical endeavor I could have ever imagined.”
“It was great to be able to able to meet and congratulate him when he returned home from this great adventure!” said Robin. “He lost about 30 pounds, but he looked good and was in great spirits.”
Dean will giving presentations on his trek this winter in Boulder, Colorado and in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Dean Paschall is 63 years old and has been an avid adventurer and outdoors-man for his entire adult life. Dean has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Rainier, has hiked on Mt. Everest and Mt. McKinley, and was the first person to fly a hang glider off of Half Dome, and El Capitan. He also loves to mountain bike, road bike, ski, and rock climb. He was a park ranger at Yosemite National Park, CA for 10 years; created and ran the outdoor program at the Community School in Sun Valley, ID; worked for NOAA and was a Division Manager with the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks for 13 years; and is a principal at Adventures Within Reach.