Driving 2,650 miles may seem like a long way to travel, but try it by foot. That’s what local resident Tom Griepentrog did.
Griepentrog, 73, recently completed walking the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexico border to British Columbia. Griepentrog’s journey began in April 2011, although he was forced to stop with 300 miles to go due to hazardous snow conditions. But he didn’t back down. Griepentrog started up again where he left off in August and finished the trek. He said though the journey was difficult, it was quite rewarding.
“It was a wonderful sense of accomplishment,” Griepentrog said. “I love the outdoors and it intrigued me to try this.”
Griepentrog said this journey usually takes hikers about five months to complete.
When he began his journey he said he carried a 50-pound backpack that included food, water, clothes, a sleeping bag and other hiking equipment. He added that since he has much hiking experience he didn’t have to prepare for what he was up for, although, he had to manage the weight of his pack and sore feet.
“It’s gorgeous country,” Griepentrog said. “It was really in the wilderness. You would go days without seeing people or road.”
During his hike, Griepentrog said he went through all kinds of terrain such as desert, mountains and snow. Because of the great distance, Griepentrog said it is critical to plan out the hike.
To navigate his way through the mountains, Griepentrog said he had a map and GPS. Typically with the heavy amounts of snow, he said it was a challenge to know where the trail was.
Griepentrog completed his travel covering usually 18- to 20-miles a day.
Griepentrog’s son, Chad, of Huntington Beach, Calif., said he was really proud of his father’s achievement.
“My dad never told us about this hike until a week before he went,” Griepentrog said. “He is the kind of guy that when he gets something in his mind he does it.”
The younger Griepentrog added that his father was so devoted to this hike that he didn’t need to push him through it.
“He is very self-motivated,” Griepentrog said. “We were blown away that he did something like this at 70 years old.”