Hi, I'm John Brennan. I hiked the PCT in 2002 as Cupcake. Friends on the CDT will be calling me Cupcake. Who knows? I may go back to being Cupcake by everyone.
I'll be 42 on the trail, and I have no firm plans about what I'm going to do after the trail.
I grew up hiking in the Sierra, and settled into annual 5-7 day backpacking trips. At some point, I realized I wanted more. I'd spend 2 or 3 days getting to some lovely, remote spot, only to have to turn around and leave. At first I thought I wanted 'higher', but then I got the idea of 'further'.
In 2001 I hiked the John Muir Trail northbound, and timed it to be with the PCT thru-hikers. I liked it. My research had led me to begin lightening my gear, and it all worked well. I liked the higher-mileage days, and I discovered the thru-hiker trail community, an unexpected bonus of long-distance hiking.
The JMT was a shakedown and test for the Pacific Crest Trail, which I hiked in 2002. My site for that hike is here. Again, I had lighter gear, which worked just fine. I made lots of friends and got to walk through California, Oregon and Washington. Many times on my hike I thought I'd seen the most beautiful pass/meadow/lake/peaks and felt that, from then on, I'd be forever spoiled only to be surprised at the next instance. Nature is amazing.
So, at some point on the PCT (after the point of swearing off long-distance backpacking forever), I decided that the CDT was next. It's rough and wild, with lots of bushwhacking, sketchy guidebooks, and many navigation decisions. I wanted to hike it before the trail was tamed by progress, or abandoned and destroyed because of changing politics in this country.
The Appalachian Trail awaits me still, the final jewel of my Triple Crown.