Section Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with Shawnté Salabert

There was a brief window earlier this month, between where I had recovered enough to walk and drive, and getting waylaid by the flu; a period which serendipitously dovetailed with a presentation by author and backpacker Shawnté Salabert on Section Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

Over decades of hiking and backpacking in California, I’ve traveled more than a few miles on the PCT. When I started adding up various portions walked, I realized I’ve probably hiked close to 200 miles of the trail. Still, while completing the PCT is a long-term goal, thru-hiking it is not.

There are several reasons thru-hiking the PCT isn’t in the cards for me. First is the long-term commitment. Blocking out five to six months isn’t something I want to do. Second is the need to focus on putting in big miles every day. There are places I don’t want to hurry through (i.e., the Sierra). Then there is weather/seasons. I don’t want to travel through the Sierra in June (end of August/early September is preferable), and I certainly don’t want to deal with the heat of the southern deserts in April and May.

Section hiking the PCT alleviates these, and many other, issues. Enter Shawnté’s new book: Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California: Section Hiking from Campo to Tuolumne Meadows. This meticulously researched and beautifully illustrated guide is perfect for those who want to backpack the PCT in smaller chunks, or just visit specific areas of interest.

Section Hiking the PCT

Seated in the Garden Room in the Culver City Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Ms. Salabert expounded on the various sections of the trail, from Campo on the border, up to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite.

Section Hiking the PCT - Slide

Shawnté shared stories from past explorations, some of her favorite places, and even detailing a not-so-appealing list of foods she consumed while out researching her book. Her pictures, descriptions, and enthusiasm had me itching to explore more of this long distance path.

In describing her effort, Shawnté said “My hope with the book is that it encourages more people to get out and explore (and enjoy) the PCT on their own terms – including in shorter bursts like 2 or 3 days. Even though I had the luxury of spending two solid months on the trail during a sabbatical one summer, most of my field work was done in exactly those shorter timeframes. There’s a lot of road access to the trail in Southern California, which makes it easier to break into chunks.”

Even if you’re not up for a Cheryl Strayed type ‘Wild’ adventure on the PCT, there are portions of trail easily accessible to everyone living in the Southern California area, and the diversity of landscape is mind-blowing. Whether you have a day, a weekend, or longer, your life will be enriched by an adventure on the Crest. And who knows, you might just be inspired to keep going all the way to Canada.

If you’re interested in hearing Shawnté speak, please visit her website at for upcoming presentations.

You can find her book Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California at local booksellers or on

(Full disclosure: My own money was used to purchase a copy of Shawnté’s book and it was procured prior to meeting Ms. Salabert; however, I was delighted to have Shawnté sign the book for me at her presentation.