Mann has written feature articles for Backpacker magazine, the Oregonian, the New York Times (online) and elsewhere. 

Latest: January/February 2020 Backpacker: Peter Parsons--Long Trail History

(Photo by Patrick Beggan)

Scout's Journal

Hike with Scout #2

August 10, 2020

Hello again,

Are you ready to continue down the trail with me? You don’t need a break, do you? Hike on and I’ll spin out what I promised—How the heck over 6,000 people slept at our house. I’ll share the Journeys North introduction, the photo to back it up and an insider backstory.  

How did 6,000-plus sleep at our house? If you know the answer, you can chuckle along with me. My wife Sandy and I really wanted to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2007. We’d made big sacrifices at work to get five months off. In 2006, the year before, we thought: Wouldn’t it be cool to host hikers in our home? We live in San Diego, the PCT’s southern terminus is 60 miles inland and we could pick up starting hikers at the airport, host them for a night or two and then drive them to the trailhead. In 2006 we did just that, hosting 17 hikers over two months. 

In 2007, before we left on the trail ourselves, we hosted 35. We thought, We’re hot stuff. It was a hoot to host, feed, and get to know these wonderful folks. They were about to start an epic adventure. But in 2008, word had circulated. We hosted over 100, more than one-third of that year’s starting PCT hiker class. And we kept to our original policy, “It’s free, no gifts, no donations.”

In 2012 we hosted over 300, in 2015 over 500, then quickly to 900, and we’ve now had years of well over 1,000. Over 8 weeks, 30 to 40 a night. Either hug us or lock us up. We have three 12-by-20-foot event tents in the back yard, 4 bedrooms, a tent trailer, a tree house and the living room floor. Since 2008, we’ve had a network of volunteers—driving airport pickups, last minute errands, trailhead runs—that last year totaled 81. All still free. No gifts. We go to bed every night exhausted, but one of us says to the other, “We are so lucky to be able to do this.” Want to see it in full swing--Local CBS Channel 8 covered us last year. 

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