As pandemic restrictions finally ease up, many are likely yearning for a stopgap change of scenery.
One Trail family is taking this desire to the next level as they head out for five-plus months of walking the Pacific Crest Trail.
Darcee O’Hearn, alongside her two sons and daughter, will be heading south to the border of Mexico and California at month-end to begin the long journey — 4240 kilometres — back home to Trail via their feet.
“We will be starting on my birthday, April 30, and we hope to be done the first week in October,” Darcee began. “But, sooner the better of course. We have to try and beat the snow.”
Darcee’s three teenagers, currently enrolled in online school, are joining her on the road; Alexander, 18, Jill 16, and Charlie 13.
“We have done the West Coast Trail and the North Coast Trail as a family so we have a good idea of what it will be like sleeping and eating together 24-7,” Darcee said. “Having said that, a couple of weeks is a lot different than five months, 160 days to be exact, which is the time it will take for us to complete the trail.”
As the family readies to depart, Darcee is asking if anyone is interested in supporting their journey. If so, she asks if they would drop off any recyclables at her home in Miral Heights.
For those who want to drop off a line of encouragement while the family is en route, Darcee will have a list of all the resupply cities, dates, times, and post office addresses on her Facebook page.
As well, the family has launched a YouTube channel called “The PCT and the O’Hearn-Stone Family,” which is where they’ll be uploading new videos along the road as they reach internet service.
“We will be hiking through the Mojave Desert, travelling through geothermals and soaking in natural hot springs, summiting the highest mountain in the continental U.S. called Mount Whitney, going to Crater Lake, and Timberline Lodge where they shot that video ‘The Shining’ just to name a few,” she said. “It’s an incredible journey and we all can’t wait to get started.”
While this journey will be daunting, it’s not the first time Darcee has thrown down the gauntlet to challenge Mother Nature. Besides hiking demanding trails for weeks at a time, she cycled 8,000 kilometres across Canada in her younger years. So she’s ready for it. Albeit, this time round, she does admit to a smidge of reservation.
Darcee has arthritis in her neck, a missing ACL (knee ligament) and well-used metatarsals. But these ailments aren’t stopping her.
“I have a lot going against me, and I am very scared,” she shares. “But I do have a drive inside my heart and mind which I hope will take me to the finish line in Manning Park. However, I know I’ll be okay because I’ll have my kids with me encouraging me the whole way. And I am not worried about my kids at all. We have led a very active lifestyle and they are hardcore just like their momma.”
To follow the family along the way, like and subscribe to “The PCT and the O”Hearn-Stone Family” on YouTube.
Her son Alex launched his own YouTube channel after completing the Camino de Santiago, a 900-kilometre pilgrimage trail through Spain, France and Portugal. Subscribing to Alex’s channel “Walking with Stone” will help support his Pacific Crest Trail trip.
Until she leaves and while the family is on the road, supporters can email Darcee directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other local email contacts are Barbara, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the family returns from their epic journey, they plan to hold an open invitation for an intimate film festival showcasing their remarkable journey through video and breathtaking photos captured along the way.