Interview: Eli Boschetto, guidebook author
In this Trail Talk Interview, Eli Boschetto discusses two of his recent guidebooks: PCT: Oregon and Day Hiking Mount Hood, his experience with Granite Gear Grounds Keepers, and lists his top three trails, backpacking items, and trail food.
The Pacific Crest Trail guidebook series by Mountaineers Press was developed with section-hikers in mind. What is included in the PCT Oregon guidebook?
Measuring 2,650 miles, planning a Pacific Crest Trail hike can be intimidating. Hiking the PCT: Oregon—as well as its companion guides for California and Washington—is designed to make the PCT more accessible to the average hiker by breaking the trail down into manageable sections that can be hiked one at a time. To help with planning, it provides information and suggestions for access points, campsites, water sources, resupply locations, and helpful trail details.
How does section-hiking differ from thru-hiking?
Thru-hiking is the term often used when hiking a long trail from end to end. A PCT thru-hike is 2,650 miles, and typically takes five to six months to complete. Section-hiking is the act of breaking a long trail down into smaller pieces, often hiking a week or two at a time, and completing the trail over several trips. Whether you complete a trail by hiking it all at once, or in several pieces, it’s still an achievement.
What are the advantages of section-hiking?
The biggest advantage to section-hiking long trails is that it takes much less time and logistical effort. Spending five months on a trail is a huge undertaking, often requires quitting a job, leaving family and pets behind, and can be a very expensive endeavor. Conversely, section-hiking lets you spread out the time required and cost of a big trip, and typically doesn’t require quitting a job. Section-hiking also lets you choose the best areas to hike at any given time, letting you avoid areas that might be on fire, where there are water shortages, or other challenges.
Favorite highlights of the PCT in Oregon?
My two favorite areas of the PCT in Oregon are the Diamond Peak Wilderness, in south central Oregon, and the Timberline area on Mount Hood in northern Oregon. The former has fantastic scenery with fewer crowds, which is nice. And Summit Lake is an Oregon gem. The latter offers some of the best volcanic, subalpine terrain you can find in Oregon. The views are some of the most stunning along the PCT in Oregon, with lots of summer wildflowers, cascading streams, and big, dramatic river canyons.
Tell us about your new Mount Hood guide book…
This is one of the first mass-market guides available that exclusively covers the Mount Hood area. It covers the central Mount Hood Wilderness area, and includes portions of three surrounding wilderness areas: Salmon-Huckleberry, Badger Creek, and Hatfield. It includes 85 dayhikes, with options for every season of the year, and breaks selections down according to features, difficultly and accessibility.
Eli’s favorite spots on Mount Hood:
Dayhike: Heather Canyon on the east side of the Mountain is an amazing hike that doesn’t see a lot of trail traffic, and is a nice sampling of the mountain’s varied terrain. The views are incredible, and there are lots of wildflowers and a big waterfall.
Backpack: Paradise Park can’t be beat. It’s one of Mount Hood’s main highlights. The trip is a grinder, with nearly 4K of elevation variance over the round trip, but the views and the flowers make all the effort worth it. Of course, the 42-mile Timberline Trail around the entire mountain is the ultimate Mount Hood experience.
Snowshoe: There are quite a few SnoParks on Mount Hood, but my favorite is Frog Lake. This small lake a little south of the mountain has nice views, fewer crowds than other parks, and is a good destination for entry-level snowshoers.
Three favorite trails
- John Muir Trail in California’s Sierra Nevada
- The Quiraing on Scotland’s Isle of Skye
- Panorama Ridge in BC’s Garibaldi Provincial Park
Three favorite ‘can’t do without’ gear items for backpacking
- Helinox ultralight camp chair
- Snow Peak titanium whiskey flask
- Hydro Flask insulated water bottle
Three favorite trail foods
- Packit Gourmet tortilla soup – real comfort food!
- Fritos – never eat them any other time except on trail
- Roonies – bite-size chocolate, espresso and coconut!
Tell us about your experience with the Granite Gear Grounds Keepers.
I never thought picking up trash could be fun. But after just a short time, I became obsessed with finding and packing out as much trail waste as I could find. Even after my year as a Grounds Keeper, it’s become a habit to still pick up and pack out all the trash I find.
Biggest LNT pet peeve (and what people can do instead)?
I HATE finding people’s dog waste bags left on or beside the trail. This is just gross. If you’re going to hike with your dog, just pack an extra ziptop bag and throw that shit in your pack. Don’t leave it as an eyesore for everyone else—or worse, forget to pick it up on you way back. Not cool!
How can we stay in touch with PCT: Oregon?
You can get the latest news and updates at pctoregon.com. You can also follow PCT: Oregon on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at @pctoregon.