My “Thru-Hike For Freedom” (THF2)

The idea to hike the Pacific Crest Trail did not come suddenly. In fact, I think in some ways, it’s been inside of me waiting to sprout ever since I was a little kid.

Back in those days, I would occasionally accompany my Dad when he took his Boy Scout troop deep into the Sierra mountains. Backpacking and outdoor recreation were two of his greatest loves. Thankfully, I have many great lessons and memories from those days!

My Dad passed away in  August, 2009, of complications from congestive heart failure. Even though it was difficult for him to talk for very long before growing weary, we had some good conversations during the time he was in the hospital. One of the last pieces of advice he gave me, as a father to son, was: “Be prepared.” The Boy Scout motto. How awesome!

There is a particular struggle that goes on within the heart and mind of anyone that has lost a parent, I believe. As we come to terms with their loss in our lives and those around us, we do a lot of thinking, and sometimes that process leads to change. One such “change” for me was to get back out and do what I had always loved to do: backpack, while I was still able to.  So I started researching backpacks…places to go backpacking nearby…wilderness survival techniques…even knot tying…and as I was firmly camped one night on Amazon.com reading through bits and pieces of books on backpacking, I came across a book called: “Dances With Marmots,” by George Spearing. It’s a book about the adventures of a firefighter from New Zealand while he hiked the PCT. Then, I read another book on the Pacific Crest Trail…and another..and started researching the PCT…fact pages, articles, finding old blogs from folks who have hiked it before, or were about to set off on their 2010 attempt. I couldn’t get enough of it!

Then one day in June 2010, as I was hiking back from an overnight backpack on the Tahoe Rim Trail,  it hit me: I can hike the PCT to raise money for the organizations I am already trying to raise money for! It made complete sense …Thus, the crazy idea to actually hike the PCT was born. Of the 300 or so thru-hikers that attempt the whole trail in one season, about 30-50% or so will make it. Last year, 59 were officially recorded as successfully making it from one end to the other.

The PCT stretches north from the Mexico border through California, Oregon, and Washington state and ends just across the Canadian border in Manning Provincial Park, near British Colombia. The trail passes through six out of seven North America ecozones, 24 national forests, 33 federally mandated wildernesses, and 7 national parks. In miles, it measures 2,650. In steps, an estimated 6 million. In gallons of water consumed, calories burned, and blisters tended to? I’ll get back to you on that.

I will be posting blog entries along the way so you can follow along on my preparations and what it will take to make this happen. I will also be keeping a video journal (filmed in hi-def) and posted both here on the blog as well as my YouTube channel, “ThruHike4Freedom.” Below is a map of the PCT…If you’d like to meet me for a meal in one of my scheduled resupply towns, or want to hike a ways with me, please let me know. I’d love that!

That, in a long nutshell (I have been known to make short thoughts into something akin to Homer’s “Iliad”…I’ll try to keep that in check for all of our sakes… 🙂 ) is the fuel for this attempt at the PCT, and the fundraising efforts that I’m putting together for it.

Please honestly consider donating to the causes I am hiking for, and praying for my trip. Thank you & God bless!


Dug Shelby (no ‘trail name’ as of yet….)

The Pacific Crest Trail

23 Responses to About

  1. Pingback: The Quest Begins…. | THF2

  2. This is awesome, Dug! When are you doing this? We want to meet you in Oregon!

    • thf2 says:

      Hey Vonderahe’s! I’ll be leaving the Cali/Mexico border & heading north in early/mid May of 2011. I’d love to meet you in Oregon! 🙂

  3. Kortney de la Torre says:

    This sounds great. SB isn’t anywhere near your trail, but I’d love to see you before you left!!! and you can Finally meet Ivan!

  4. surfd0g says:

    wow, sounds exciting!

  5. Joshua Geimer says:

    Dug! This looks like it’s going to be amazing. I’m super excited for you. The website is great too. How long does it usually take to walk this bad boy?

    • thf2 says:

      Hey Josh! Thank you, brother! Well, if I average about 22 miles a day, I should make it through in about 4 months. Thanks for subscribing to the blog! 🙂

  6. Todd Wagner says:

    Hi Dug, I am going to hike PCT 2011…Thanks for your info, looking forward to it…I’ll see you in May. See ya, Todd

  7. S.Kidd says:

    as the movie quote comes to mind.. Hike Dug Hike! 😉

    looking forward to reading about your journey..

  8. analyfe says:

    What a phenomenal mission! I can’t wait to hear more about it. 🙂

    • thf2 says:

      Thanks Ana! I’ll be leaving at the end of April, and will be posting journal entries, photos and videos from the trail. Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

  9. wow. i hadnt read this before. im coming to California mid April, ill do my best to send positive vibes your way! well done, im in absolute awe.

    • thf2 says:

      THanks Laura! Are you going to visit your brothers in La Jolla? Have you been out this way before? You’ll absolutely love it out here…I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, just up the coast from La Jolla about 4 hours drive. Thanks for the positivity, the world needs more of that, yes? 🙂

  10. Wow…kudos to you for taking a very difficult situation in your life and using it for something good. I’m sorry to hear about your Dad, but I’m sure he’d be proud of your for taking on this trip. What a beautiful story you will have to tell when you’re through.

    Will be praying…

  11. limr says:

    What a great way to honor your dad. I lost my father in Nov.2006 and I haven’t done anything so significant, but I honor him by donning one of his old flannel shirts whenever I work on my car (he was a mechanic).

    I hope you have an amazing time and I look forward to reading about the hike.

    • thf2 says:

      Thank you for that…and I think what you do is VERY significant. Some don’t do anything, others visit gravesites, it really is an individual thing. But I would say what you do would not only make him smile, but feel very, very loved. I appreciate the way you remember him. :). Thank you for following along!

  12. Pingback: This post has no title, just words and some pictures. | As a Linguist…

  13. this is so cool and inspiring… i wish i could just backpack and go…nevertheless , i wish you all d best… am so impressed with what you are doing to to honor your dad… 🙂

  14. Pingback: Heating up! | Thru-Ride 4 Freedom

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