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DailyTidings.com
  • PCT hikers are a different breed

    How to differentiate them from others with backpacks
  • It's easy to spot long-distance hikers who have arrived in Ashland after trekking 1,700 miles or so on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico on their way to Canada.
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    • About this series
      This story is part of a series
      on the record number of
      Pacific Crest Trail hikers this year.
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      About this series
      This story is part of a series

      on the record number of

      Pacific Crest Trail hikers this year.
  • It's easy to spot long-distance hikers who have arrived in Ashland after trekking 1,700 miles or so on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico on their way to Canada.
    Known as "thru hikers," they look tired, dirty and in need of a cold drink and platters of food. Their sturdy legs are carrying the lightest possible backpack. But most of all, they are equipped with self-deprecating humor.
    "Thru hikers' food consumption in trail towns is the stuff of legends," says veteran hiker Chuck Chelin, who lives outside Sandy. "They have the metabolism of a red-hot woodstove. Who else do you know would buy a jar of mayonnaise and eat it with a spoon?"
    Portland-author Cheryl Strayed, who hiked through California, Oregon and Washington and wrote a best-selling memoir, "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," describes her hair during the journey as "coarser and strangely double in thickness, sprung alive by layers of dried sweat and trail dust, as if I were slowly but surely turning into a cross between Farrah Fawcett in her glory days and Gunga Din at his worst."
    Dee Collodel, who helps run her daughter Daureen's Ashland Motel, says she can spot PCT hikers by their calm demeanor. "They are very nice and interesting," she says, diplomatically, while sitting at the reception desk of the motel Tuesday morning. "They just want a comfortable bed and a hot shower. We always give them lots of soap."
    Endurance hikers rarely jump into the motel's pool, Collodel says, because they're too tired. "They just want to rest up and get back on the trail," she says, adding that she and her husband, Dino, are "not outdoors people, but we enjoy the people who are."
    Yes. PCT hikers are different.
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