For years, the Pacific Crest Trail was an adventure that lay ahead of Elena and Gus Wimberger, a once-in-a-lifetime trek they’d dreamed of and planned.
Now, with it just over a week behind them, the Tacoma siblings look back on the characters met, injuries overcome, beauty seen and — during the final stretch when they hiked 48 consecutive hours — the possibility it could have cost them their lives.
“It wasn’t about the finish; it was about the unconditional kindness of the people we met,” said Gus, 18.
Gus and his 23-year-old sister had talked about the 2,663-mile trail for half their lives. They left in May, after she graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Ore., and he from Foss High School.
“The toughest adjustment was just so much walking. You’d think there would be plenty of time to work on a journal, relax around the campfire,” Elena said. “We’d get up in the morning, pack, eat a candy bar and start walking. We’d stop when we were exhausted, go to sleep and then start over.”
Hiking from the Mexican border to the Canadian border isn’t for sissies.