Trail of Dreams |

Trail of Dreams

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The Pacific Crest Trail is a National Scenic Trail that covers 2,650 miles from the Mexican border to Canada. It goes through 24 National Forests, 37 dedicated wilderness areas and seven National Parks. One hundred eleven miles of the trail go through Placer, Nevada and Sierra counties.

Grass Valley photographer Kristofer Wakefield has always dreamed of hiking the entire trail, and within the past few years he’s hiked and backpacked at least one stretch a year.

“It’s like this adventure that sits inside of me,” Wakefield said. “It hits my adventure button.”

Almost all his forays on the trail have been alone, although he’s often encountered other hikers on popular stretches. The humans pale in contrast to the animal life he’s encountered on his jaunts, however. One of his most exciting adventures in animal sightings was encountering a black bear near Echo Summit. It passed within 50 yards of him and as the bear ambled up the hill, Wakefield followed – at a safe distance, he hoped – the bear’s 6-inch paw prints in the dirt.

Although he is a professional photographer and took the pictures accompanying this story, he said the photos were secondary to theexperience.

“It was more about enjoying new areas, experiencing remoteness and the ruggedness of the Sierras. It was almost like going back to another place in mankind’s existence,” Wakefield said.

His pack weighed 59 pounds at the start of his journey and his computerized watch measured his elevation as he hiked. That’s how he knows he ascended 13,600 feet on his last hike, while descending 16,510 feet.

So, Wakefield is already thinking about the next stretch of the trail he plans to tackle. The father of six – four are still at home – cradles the well-worn copy of the Pacific Crest Trail book put out by Wilderness Press and plans his next adventure.

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