The Bernals PCT thru-hike

"Wherever we go in the mountains, or indeed in any of God's wild fields, we find more than we seek." -John Muir 

As most of you know, we are getting married in October of this year! Instead of a traditional wedding registry, we have decided to set up this benefit for our April 2016 PCT thru-hike. This hike will be in place of our “honeymoon” also- we couldn’t think of a more perfect way to start our lives together anyway! 

What is the PCT?
The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail runs 2,663 miles from the US-Mexico border, through the entire length of California, Oregon, and Washington. It ends at the US-Canadian border, passing through 7 national parks and 25 national forests along the way. 

For the 300-500 people that attempt to thru-hike the PCT each year, the success rate is about forty percent, with those completing it taking four to six months to do so. 

Why the PCT?

Because the pacific coast is beautiful, of course. But really. First, let me give a little background as to how this dream became a goal of ours.

It was a typical Saturday afternoon – we were at our favorite coffee shop, The Phoenix, doing our usual homework/study thing. We decided to take a break, and wandered to the library in the back of the shop. Adrian picked out some books to skim through, and I picked a few National Geographic magazines from the 60’s-70’s. One in particular caught my eye. It was the 1971 issue featuring the PacificCrest Trail, amongst other stories also. I flipped to the story covering the Pacific Crest Trail and began reading. I was amazed. A trail covering 3 states, 2,663 miles?! I had never heard of anything like it before. I showed Adrian the article and he was just as amazed as I was. Hiking for months, through many different types of terrain, a seemingly never-ending trail?! It sounded like heaven to us. We knew we wanted to do this. The real test was waiting for God to tell us what he thought.

Fast forward 2 years, and we are getting married in 8 months. Some of our personal goals and aspirations have changed over the course of time, but the PCT has been a constant in both of our lives. Occasionally one of us would bring it up, and the conversation would usually end in something to the effect of “yeah, someday…”

There are many reasons why so few people attempt a thru-hike. It could simply be no desire to hike such a long distance. But for most people, the main reason is because it is a sacrifice. Most people have to quit their jobs, quit going to school, sell many of their belongings, come to terms with living out of a backpack for half a year, etc. We are now at a point in our lives where this is all entirely possible, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. After the hike, we will be returning to school for our bachelors degrees. I will have 2 years of nursing school to conquer, and Adrian will be in for 6 MORE YEARS, earning his degree as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine! Needless to say, we have a busy life ahead of us soon. This hike will be our last taste of complete freedom for quite some time. Not necessarily a negative thing, considering our lives are always full of adventure, no matter the circumstances. But my point is, this hike is especially important because of God's perfect timing surrounding it!

Why are you asking for so much money?  

Well, here's the deal. We know $5,000 is a lot of money. Especially to us, being broke college students and working service jobs. We are saving as much money as we can right now to help fund this hike, but we also have a wedding to be saving money for. That being said, should we come up with a substantial amout of money ourselves, we will lower our goal to whatever amount we need! 

There are 3 big costs in thru-hiking any trail. Here is how it all breaks down:

It is typical to wear through 5 pairs of trail runners during the course of the hike. That is $500 for one person alone! Our backpacks, tarp, clothing, etc take up a large portion of this cost. 

Resupply (food):
This is what we will be living off of for 5 months.
We pick up our food in resupply boxes at post offices all along the trail. Food for one person alone is expensive, but we have two stomachs to feed. Keep in mind that this is literally pounds of oatmeal, clif bars, jars of peanut butter, etc. Anything above basic food would be substantially more expensive! 

This is for the times we step off the trail. This is usually only for a few days at a time, but over the course of 20 weeks, the cost adds up. The occasional motel room for a hot shower, replacing any gear should it fail, or even the treat of a hot restaurant meal is instant happiness for a thru-hiker. Also a morale booster.

But, here’s the thing. Money isn’t exactly the only thing we are asking for here. In fact, we are only asking for money because it is necessary for us to do this at this time in our lives. There are two ways in which you can support us on this adventure!

1) You can support us financially. As little as $10 will supply us with 5 WHOLE JARS OF PEANUT BUTTER! It could also supply us with 5 energy bars, or 2 freeze dried meals! Or, ya know, a few snickers’ bars… Either way, we will be happier than a bird with a french fry!

2) You can support us emotionally. Something as simple as a hand written letter, or postcard would mean the world to us on this trip! There will be a link on our blog to all of our resupply stop addresses. You can leave an encouraging comment on our blog, or share this page with your friends! We are so grateful for any support we can get.

We will be posting regularly on our blog before, during, and after the thru-hike. We hope you will follow along with us on this journey, and for our many more adventures to come! =)

CLICK HERE for the link to our blog!!!

All rewards not being done on the trail will be given post-hike! =)
  • Hannah, Tyler and Charley Bright 
    • $25 
    • 68 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $1,500 (Offline)
    • 68 mos
  • Claudia Bernal 
    • $200 
    • 69 mos
  • Family Lopez 
    • $200 
    • 69 mos
  • Eric Alton 
    • $100 
    • 69 mos
See all


Kacie Bernal 
Broken Arrow, OK
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