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Current events have moved to the events page below,.

but it does cover most aspects of our PCT presentation, and some ongoing hiking events

Pacific Crest Trail Presentation - given in 2018 and 2019 but still useful in 2022

Our Pacific Crest Trail program: Not everyone has the time and inclination to thru-hike the entire 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), but many dream of hiking part of it. Others would like to do all of it--eventually, but how? When Ralph and I made our first hike on the PCT in 1989, it was really about climbing Mt. Whitney. We didn't plan to complete the JMT, much less the PCT, but after a few more Sierra trips, the bug took hold and we went on to complete both. We started doing two trips a year on the PCT--one in Southern California in early spring, and one in Northern California and points north in late summer. We continued doing 400 or so miles each year until, finally, in 2010, we made their final push and did our 400 miles through the Cascades in Washington.

We gave an overview of the PCT--such as the route, elevations, and resupply info. Who is hiking? How difficult is it? What resources are available (such as water reports)? Hints and best practices. The goal was and is to help you plan and prepare for your own adventures--whether for sections of a few dozen miles or of a few hundred.

To revisit the show:

The handout:

The text of the show:

The preshow video on books/apps


Susan is the author of Walk Hike Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails, Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo, Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine, Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago, and We're in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers.

We are Bay Area residents. We are long-distance hikers who have section-hiked the entire 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, walked almost 3,000 miles of pilgrimage trails in Spain, France, and Portugal, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and completed the Circuit Trail in Torres del Paine, Chile.

If you are interested in hosting one of our programs, please contact us at

In March 2018, John Vonhof interviewed Susan about the Camino de Santiago and her books, focusing on Healing Miles. Listen to podcast at


Visit Susan's website at or her blog at where she discusses hiking, backpacking, the writing life, and what makes life so interesting and sweet.

E-mail Susan at backpack45 "at sign" for more info on events.

For bookstore readings, backpacking clinics, Pacific Crest Trail, John Muir Trail, Patagonia and Camino de Santiago slide presentations contact Susan at 510-339-3441. Out of the San Francisco Bay Area presentations will be considered.

Feedback from Event Planners

7/2016: Updating work soon!

April 23, 2008

Dear Susan, On behalf of the Sonora Branch of AAUW, I want to thank you for your wonderful presentation to our group. ...I heard glowing reports about your photos and the description of your journey across Spain.  Everyone really enjoyed it.

Sincerely,  Sue Osborn

January 31, 2008 Thank you so much for coming to our branch and giving your wonderful lecture on traveling the Camino! Honestly! My only goal was to provide good adult programming to our community and now I find myself ready to go on a trip of my own.  All because of your inspiring lecture and beautiful slides! Thanks again for being a bright spot in our dreary January and for being such an excellent kick-off to our series of adult programs. Sarah Spindle and the Ygnacio Valley Library staff (Walnut Creek, CA)

Free Hiking Newsletter: To receive Susan's backpacking/hiking newsletter, send a message to backpack45 "at sign" In the newsletter, there are always trail tips and information, notices of upcoming hikes and gatherings, and news of interest to the hiking community. After a long-distance hike, you'll find a write-up of our experiences and summaries of those trips are archived on

Archived on-line Podcast (trailcast #26, dated April 5, 2006) on Robert Butler's website: Susan Alcorn describes her process of writing about women's backpacking for her book We're in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers, and the hikes she and Ralph have completed that have gone into her upcoming book, Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago.

KPFA "Cover to Cover" interview: Author Susan Alcorn interviewed by Denny Smithson, May 24, 2004. Go to and check Denny's archived programs.

Other events to enjoy:


California Wildflower blooming schedule - the email group has a lot of things besides wildflowers - photo tips, fall colors calendar, various how to photo topics, but look here for Antelope Valley poppy display times, San Francisco regional park current reports on wildflowers, much more

The website for the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve near Lancaster, California is  The poppy season is generally mid-March to mid-May; the reserve is open year round sunrise to sunset. The visitor center is open during the poppy season.

Wildflower Bloom Information Poppy Reserve Wildflower Hotline: (661) 724-1180
Theodore Payne Foundation Wildflower Hotline: (818) 768-3533

San Francisco Bay Area Local Pilgrim Gatherings:

For current local pilgrim events:

Outings and hiking related Events.

Suggestion: When considering a hike with a group, contact the hike leader to find out his/her pace and focus so that you will know it's a good match with your interests.

The Sierra Club has free or low cost local hikes throughout the year. To find your region and hiking calendars, click on  For the San Francisco Bay area Sierra Club and other local hiking clubs click on Sierra Club SF Hiking, or San Francisco Bay Area Hiker.S.F.

Regional: Mount Diablo Hiking Group - Facebook ( Contact: This website lists where-to-hike info for the San Francisco Bay Area. has a series of guided hikes that let you complete the TRT over the course of the summer. The website also lists a number of good day hikes. Something like 20 hikes and backpacks are scheduled annually.

Emma Gatewood first hiked the entire 2160 mile Appalachian Trail at the age of 67.  She last hiked it at the age of 76.

Page Changed: February 1, 2020 16:20

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