A man from Bend, Oregon recently finished hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail…in sandals.
Judd Rush is a recent college graduate from Bend, Oregon who wanted to do something different before heading into the working world. So he decided to hike 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Rush had graduated from the University of Oregon and originally wanted to hike a 450-mile section of the PCT in Oregon but there was still too much snow in the mountains. So he decided to simply hike the whole thing.
I said the heck with it. I guess I’ll just walk from Mexico to Canada.
Rush gathered food and materials, mostly rice crispy treats, peanut M&Ms, granola bars and cookies– food that has the most calories per serving.
“I was SO sick of eating that food by the end of the trip,” Rush said. “It was just the same thing over and over again. But you kind of get to the point where you just need calories to keep your body going, so it’s more about the caloric yields than the taste or anything like that.”
Rush was not a hiker; in fact, he had only even gone hiking a few times before deciding to tackle the PCT. He mosly ran the trail, finding it easier to run downhill. He also decided to do the entire trail in his Chaco sandals which was the reason for Rush battling shin splints and Achilles problems.
But he made it.
Despite being face to face with a cougar one night.
“I just saw a massive body turn to the side, I saw a big shoulder dip up, and then I saw a body, a really long tail, and it disappeared into the darkness,” Rush recalls. “So I spent the rest of the night tending to a fire, next to my sleeping bag.”
Rush hiked the trail from April 25 to Oct. 10 averaging 16 miles a day, totaling 165 days.
Even though there were some trying times on the trail, he saw multiple bears, the cougar, and wolves, Rush met some amazing trail friends and never thought quitting was an option.
“It didn’t feel real,” he said. “It didn’t feel like it was over. Even after the trail, after I had gotten home, it still didn’t really feel like I was off the trail. It kind of felt like I was taking a break again — because hiking has been my life for over five months.”