If you have walked the Pacific Crest Trail, you may have met Barney Scout Mann at his Southern California home, where he and his wife Sandy have hosted trekkers who are embarking on the adventure of their lives. Thousands more have benefitted from his dedication to the trail through his many years of work with the Pacific Crest Trail Association.
If you walked the PCT in 2007, you may have met him and his wife on the trail, when he kicked off his quest for distance hiking’s coveted triple crown, which he completed in 2017.
However, the inspirational adventurer, who has backpacked for more than 50 years, may have saved his most influential work for Journeys North, which reads like a gripping novel. He tells the tales of six who braved challenges that would send many hikers home. Ultimately, when a snowstorm blocks their path, they must choose between quitting and searching for an elusive detour.
His book brings home the personal side of the trek, stretching beyond the six main characters through compelling anecdotes about other backpackers traveling the PCT.
If it not had been in the middle of winter when I read it, Scout’s book may have spurred me to travel to his home to pick up some trail magic before I launched my own PCT trek. Sure, I recently completed the John Muir Trail, which follows the PCT much of its way through California’s Sierra Nevada. My heart is enthusiastic, but are my body and mind ready to make the jump from my 243-mile trek to the 2,653 miles through three states on the entire PCT?
If you read Journeys North, be prepared to feel the urge to take the next step(s).