Jered Stern’s journey ended short of his destination.
The OOIDA member from Utah began a 2,650-mile hike of the Pacific Crest Trail on April 8, but a knee injury forced him to stop two weeks and 209.5 miles into the trip. The journey started in Campo, Calif., and he had hoped to reach Manning Park, B.C., on Sept. 21, which will be his 45th birthday.
Stern’s trip was featured in the March/April edition of Land Line Magazine and on a recent segment of Land Line Now.
“I’m not bitter about it as I went into this knowing only 10 to 20 percent of those who attempt a through-hike remain injury free and are able to finish it,” Stern wrote in an email. “I am happy for the experience and look forward to the next challenge in life.”
Attempting a hike of this magnitude was quite the challenge for the truck driver of 18 years. Stern said he doesn’t consider himself an avid hiker or outdoorsman, and he lost about 40 pounds to prepare for the voyage.
“What appealed to me with this trip is that it’s a long distance,” Stern said. “There’s a point A and a point B, and a long way in between. This requires strategy. … You’re planning where you’re going to get your water. How much water do you need to carry with you until the next stop? Where are you going to get your food? Where are you going to wash your clothes? All of these little strategy things in between point A and point B is that part that kind of snagged me. That’s what made me want to shoot for something like this.”
Stern spent the first part of the trip marching through the desert, hiking an average of 15 to 20 miles per day.
Earlier this week, Stern attempted to cross the San Jacinto Peak.
“The ascent went well,” he wrote. “It was great to be up in the pine trees at 10,000 feet after hiking nearly two weeks on exposed desert trail with little water. The melt was on so there was plenty of water running and two miles of snow trekking, where I was able to use my microspikes to get through the steep Fuller Ridge traverse.”
However, the hike down is when Stern suffered his injury.
“After that was a 25-mile downhill trek to Interstate 10, and it was this downhill that ended my attempt at a through hike of the PCT,” Stern wrote. “I suffered some sort of injury to my left knee that made it impossible to continue.”
Despite not finishing, Stern spoke positively of the trip and the people he met along the way. He said the trip served as rejuvenation before returning to his career as a truck driver.
“It’s done wonders for my spirit,” he said. “It’s making me feel great. I know when I get back on the road, it’s going to get me charged up for the next 18 years.”
Land Line Now’s Terry Scruton contributed to this report.
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