Monday, April 28, 2008

Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off. From the Union-Tribune
For 10 years now, hundreds and hundreds of people have been gathering at Lake Morena on the last weekend of April for something known in the Pacific Crest Trail fraternity as ADZPCTKO – the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off.
Some are those who have hiked the famous Mexico-to-Canada trail many times before and are there to give advice and support. Quite a few have never done it before and are beginning a journey they hope they will remember fondly the rest of their lives.

Most began the hike Friday. That first day, they called themselves “the herd” as they all took off about the same time early in the day and hiked 20 miles to a point where buses brought them back to Lake Morena. Today they will return to where they left off and really start the hike. The temperature, by the way, is supposed to creep toward 100 degrees in the desert today.

“This is a gathering of ultra-light, ultra-passionate, ultra-long-distance hikers,” said Greg Hummel, or Strider as he is called in the community because when he made the hike in 1977 his long legs allowed him to travel fast.

The gathering has many purposes. “It provides some education and some inspiration to kill some of those butterflies for those who are aspiring to hike this long trail,” said Hummel, the head coordinator of ADZPCTKO.

“When sliding down snowbanks, never, never do it while wearing crampons. If you're unlucky you'll break your leg then go cartwheeling down the mountain.”

As the crow flies, the distance from Mexico to Canada is a bit more than 1,000 miles, but the trail is 2½ times that long. It goes through deserts and mountains and through some of the most stunning areas of the country.

A gathering of hiker trash from all over the nation. Man, do I wish I was there.

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