Now that's a long walk...

Santa Cruz man believed to be first to complete roundtrip hike of Pacific Crest Trail

November 16, 2004
Associated Press Newswires
(c) 2004. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A self-employed tree trimmer from Santa Cruz is believed to be the first person to complete a roundtrip hike of the Pacific Crest Trail connecting Mexico with Canada, one of the longest continuous backpacking routes in the United States.
Scott Williamson, 32, completed the 5,300-mile hike on Saturday after 6 1/2 months in the wilderness, he said Tuesday in a phone interview from a friend's San Diego home. The trail, 2,650 miles in one direction, stretches from the Mexican border to the Canadian border.

"It's very satisfying. My goal wasn't to become the first person, it was to achieve a personal goal," he said. "I'm sort of still living in the twilight zone because I've been living in the woods for the past 6 1/2 months."

Angela Bassett, publications manager for the Pacific Crest Trail Association, said as far as the association knows Williamson is the first person to complete the roundtrip hike -- also called a "yo-yo."

Bassett, who herself wrote a romantic comedy about hiking 2,300 miles of the trail with her husband, said Williamson's time of 6 1/2 months is extraordinary -- but also the key to his success.

"It's important for someone trying to do a yo-yo to go fast because on the way back down (from Canada) you have to be concerned with early snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains," she said.

Williamson wore running shoes during his trek and restocked his lightweight pack by picking up 42 pre-packed boxes his father mailed to post offices along the route.

Williamson had made three attempts at the roundtrip hike in the past eight years. Two times early snow forced him to give up and a third time he arrived at the Canadian border too late in the season to turn around. This time he started in Mexico on April 22.

"I feel better than I've felt in my life physically," said Williamson, who added that he didn't lose any weight. "I wish I could keep it that way, but I know as I slide back into my workaday life I'll lose that feeling."


Pacific Crest Trail Association: