Protecting Trails and the Experience of a Lifetime


For years my good friend Barney “Scout” Mann and his wife Sandy “Frodo” have served as PCT trail angels and have hosted and shuttled thousands of hikers from the San Diego airport to the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. Section hikers and prospective thru-hikers come from every corner of the planet to embrace the experience of a lifetime on the PCT. Recently, Barney invited me to San Diego to help shuttle an international group of hikers out to the start of their PCT journey.

It was my great pleasure and honor to shuttle American hikers and trail enthusiasts from as far away as Asia, Africa and Europe to begin an incredible hiking adventure. As I learned each hiker’s story, it really put into perspective the important work that American Hiking Society (AHS), the Pacific Crest Trail Association, and other organizations do to promote and protect trails. It was tremendously gratifying for me to know that at least in some small part, AHS and its partners are making trail magic through trail stewardship, protection and the promotion of the hiking experience.

After shuttling the eager thru-hikers to the PCT beginning point at the Mexican border, Barney and I hiked 5 miles with the new group and it was heartening to see how quickly trail fellowship and camaraderie develops between total strangers. The trail not only enables us to experience nature and get into wild places, but it also provides us the pathway to find ourselves, meet kindred hikers, feel that connection with the land, and stoke an almost tribal spirituality along the way.

Gregory Miller, AHS President