Editor’s Note: Many thru-hikers this year delayed or cancelled plans due to Covid-19. Additionally, many would-be thru-hikers find that taking several months off from daily life just isn’t possible because of work, family and other commitments. For everyone who fits into either or both camps, we asked Jonathon to help us experience the trail vicariously through his epic photos. These 51 images of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail are in chronological order, showing the terrain, people and emotions Jonathon encountered on his 2019 NOBO hike.
I’m Jonathon Frankson, also known as Roadrunner on trail. I hiked the PCT in 2019, starting March 12. With such an early start date, I guess it was good that I was coming from Alaska, as 2019 ended up being an abnormally high snow year for the PCT, with some parts of the Sierra seeing more than 200% the average snowpack.
From retreating off the trail in the Jacinto mountains (to pick up snow gear in Idlewild) to getting altitude sickness from going straight up the snow-covered switchbacks on Whitney — not to mention the two separate ill-advised and failed attempts to get over Kearsarge Pass during a storm — the PCT taught me that Mother Nature doesn't care how tough you think you are. It's up to you to make good choices in the face of bad decisions.
Despite all the challenges, or maybe because of them, taking those first steps on the Pacific Crest Trail, with a backpack and a 350 dollar camera that I didn't even know how to use yet, will go down as one of my all time great choices.
To see more of Jonathon's amazing images from the PCT and other adventures, give him a follow @jonathonfrankson!