Odin Falls recently launched our first 28 day Pacific Crest Trail Backpacking and Service course, using our basecamp for student workshops and preparation. This new course was designed to prepare future thru hikers or section hikers for their upcoming adventures on the Pacific Crest Trail, focusing on Ultra Light Philosophies and includes such elements as footwork and self arrest in snow, resupply strategy, LNT ethics, budgeting, and navigation using digital apps and maps.
Our 8 students arrived early this month and spent their first three days on base building resupply boxes out of our food room, sorting through gear, and attending workshops put on my instructors and local long distance hikers. Renee “Shera” Patrick, a triple crowner of the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail, as well as a past Logistics Manager at Odin Falls came out to do an inspiring presentation on how thru hiking has changed her life. We were also joined by a local artist and hiker named Kolby “Condor” Kirk who gave a fantastic presentation on the importance of journaling while hiking.
Our last student prep day was capped off with a projected movie on the warehouse deck titled, “Only The Essential,” a documentary of two 2013 PCT thru hikers making their way north to Canada.
With resupply boxes taped up and labeled, backpacks buttoned up for hiking, and students filled to the brim with inspiration we said farewell to Odin Falls and recognized the unique opportunity to prepare for course on base.
We are now on day 16 of course and have traveled from Mt. Thielsen to Mt. Jefferon with Mt. Hood and Bridge of the Gods on the horizon. We have completed 2 full days of heavy trail work near Summit Lake with the Pacific Crest Trail Association and have 3 more coming up at another remote location in need of our help replacing water bars. “It’s so wonderful to put work into a trail we may someday hike ourselves.” Said one participant.
Our students feet are no longer soft but their hearts have opened up completely to the trail. As we said in our sendoff circle, “You will not end up where you started or end up as the person you started off as.” The trail does that to you… it changes you.
This course was made possible through the support and assistance of many people. Thank you to the NWOBS Student Services including Tami and Skye for all of your support with this course as well as the admin team at Odin Falls.
- Thank you to Dana Hendricks of the PCTA as well as Lindsey Kiesz of the USFS for help with the data collection project and lining up service work.
- Thanks to Scott “Knees” Songer, Sam “Pro-Deal” Smith, Amber “Hill-No” Lucas, and Debbie “Mamma D” Dormire for the food and homemade snack pouches
- Thank you to Granite Gear for the UL pack donations!
- Thank you to Trail Designs for the custom made stoves!
- Thanks to Enerplex for the solar panel donations and anyone else we are missing for making our student gear a dream come true.
- The Trail Show Podcast (They plugged our course on episode #46)
- Brandon Sharpe, Gina McKee (Donated digital images for the website and flyers)
- Renee “Shera” Patrick (Guest speaker during student prep days)
- Kolby “Condor” Kirk (Guest speaker during student prep days)
- Scott Songer, Andrea Kochenderfer (Donated food and gear)Big Lake Youth Camp (Donating showers and laundry)
- KIND Snacks and Clif Bars for donating bars for the trail
- BIG thanks to Kelsey Mills for being the most creative and flexible logistics person ever!
Finally, thanks to Trevor McKee, the heart and soul of this course, for his thoughtful and thorough preparations in planning this course. Trevor received the Outward Bound Service Award for the work he put into Outward Bound’s first Pacific Crest Trail thru hiker prep course.