David Hazy hiked the entire 2600+ mile Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada, while taking a selfie every mile. From those 2600 selfies he made a kickass timelapse video in which he grows an epic beard, looses it and meet a plethora of other hikers and stunning scenery!
Hiking the fabled PCT
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) travels 2660 miles through the mountains of California, Oregon and Washington, starting at the Mexico border fence near the small town of Campo, CA, and finishing just across the Canadian border in Manning Park, British Columbia. It took Hazy about 5 months to complete and he lost 50 pounds in process (which is a very normal amount of weight loss for anyone hiking the PCT by the way). Total elevation change was about 450,000 feet (whatttt!!), with the high point being 13,200 feet at Forester Pass in the High Sierras.
Hazy documented the physical transformation of the environment and himself by taking a selfie on trail every single mile of the hike. He kept track of this using Halfmile paper maps and mobile apps with GPS, and by time.
“After awhile walking miles is just like clock work. A mile almost always took me 18-22 minutes to hike.”
Photography alters the experience
The process of stopping to take a picture every mile had a big impact on the actual experience of doing the hike. I had to be well-aware of where I was at all times, which was quite distracting in that it took me out of the moment and made it difficult to maintain good momentum. Though I suppose it was nice to have something to occupy my thoughts with as well. In retrospect, I am happy to have done it. It provided a good conversation starter with so many hikers that I would meet along the way. And I now love seeing so many wonderful faces popping up in pictures in unexpected places.
Follow along with the trail and pictures in the video using the map shown above.
The video has a very similar look and feel as Kolby Kirk’s PCT time-lapse video with the difference that Kirk’s video has a hilarious ending.
Both of the men (and most likely anyone hiking the PCT) struggle (and make fun) with their ever growing epic beards.
To Beard or not to Beard?
People ask a lot about the beard. Or more so, why I shaved it off during the hike. I simply got annoyed by it more than I cared about visual continuity. It also aged me more than I cared to admit at the time. I will share however, when I hit Reds Meadow (Mammoth Lakes) at mile 906 and went into town, I felt like a new man. The weight loss was only a small part of it. Shaving the beard off revealed that man to me for the first time, and my outlook on the rest of the journey was renewed.
Three weeks of Editing
To make a video like this just snapping photos every mile is not enough. A lot of editing work is needed afterwards. It took Hazy three weeks (200~ hours) of organizing and editing to create the video. The first week he went through all the images, his journal and maps just to ensure the integrity of the mileage and location of each image. Then it was about two weeks of cropping and color balancing each image so that they aligned as best as possible. Needless to say, this was an incredibly tedious process.
Check out his personal webpage, to see some of his trail and lifestyle photos from the hike, as well as a little more background on the last 260 miles of the hike in the North Cascades.
Heavy snowfall detour
For the purposes of showing the Pacific Crest Trail in it’s entirety, this video is actually a combination of two hikes. Mile 0 through 2424 was done in 2013, before an early season snow storm dumped more than six feet of snow on the trail north of Snoqualmie Pass, WA making it impassable at the time. So, instead of quitting (or dying), I came up with a road detour that would still get me to Canada. I departed the PCT at Snoqualmie Pass, walking along the Iron Horse Trail and then Highway 97 north to Osoyoos, British Columbia. I took continuous mile selfies from the road walk as well, but decided not to show them here to keep the video PCT oriented.
I went back in 2014 to hike the 260 mile-long portion of the PCT from mile 2424 to the trail’s Northern Terminus at mile 2660. The snow storm and road walk will feature in the upcoming short film, Lost or Found.