Written by Sean Jansen
There is something to be said about a trail that goes through three of the “Greenest States” in the union. All three legally happy states.
To be able to sit down in nature, pack a bowl and enjoy the view was the antithesis of what the definition of a “stoner” was to us. It was something unforgettable to wake up at sunrise in our tents to spark one while the sun was rising to start our day. Getting that creativity and drive for the day, all while still making our coffee as Mother Nature greeted us with her gorgeous yellow orange smile.
Cannabis was almost currency on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT is a 2,650.10-mile trail that spans from Mexico to Canada, winding through through California, Oregon, and Washington.
Everyone smoked. We met and hiked with lawyers, teachers, representatives, and nurses. Hell, we even smoked with a Boeing engineer who builds the airplane engines that carry us all over the planet. It was an incredibly open thing to be accepted as an advocate for cannabis on the PCT.
We didn’t know it, but we were learning literally ever step of the way. A lot of us were from the East Coast and had little to no idea about the laws of West Coast cannabis jurisdictions. To our surprise, it was everywhere.
I grew up in California. I had a basis of what to expect, and where we could get quality product. But little did I know that it was possible to get it literally everywhere.
“Got to Love California”
Twenty miles from the border, a couple of hikers picked up a quarter pound. When we reached the Sierra Nevada mountain range, there was a hostel in the town of Bishop that was aptly named, “THC,” or, “The Hostel California.” But we all knew what the owner’s intentions were. California was, and still is, a Mecca for cannabis. We all loved it, and used it recreationally for virtually everything.
It was almost used as a conversation starter. When we rocked up at the few and far between water sources in California (minus the Sierra), there was always either another hiker sparking up, or someone we had yet to meet, but were about to share a bowl with.
In Lake Tahoe, we hitched a ride back to the trail after a re-supply. The driver dropped a bag of well over 3 ounces of weed into our laps and said, “I am just looking for a little [cash] for this.”
We gave him a $20 thinking, ‘we’ll just grab a small handful and go about our day.’ However, he was adamant we take the entire bag.
He chuckled, the driver, after handing the large 3 ounce bag to us and said, “Got to love California!” and drove off.
That bag lasted us—along with all the fellow hikers that we all smoked out—until central Washington, over 1,000 miles later.
Once we crossed into Oregon, the true green state in every sense of the word, weed was commonplace everywhere we went.
Downtown on the streets of Ashland and Portland, don’t make the mistake we did by lighting up in public. Though handcuffs were never reached for, a pen and citation were. A citation of $260.00 at the time.
But the simplicity of the trail was apparent in Oregon. The terrain was flatter and less mountainous. The temperatures were warmer, and at this point, all of us were daily smokers enjoying the smiles from whichever strain of sativa soothed its way into the system and heightened the experience of being in nature each step of the way.
The Icing on the Cake
Washington had us feeling like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, skipping our way across the Bridge of the Gods and into the land of green.
The state was simply a highlight for all of us; the light at the end of the tunnel for the remainder of the trail. Canada seemed only weeks away with farms, dispensaries, and laid back humans all there to support our needs.
The scenery was bar none some of the most incredible. And to have top-quality product to aid us and inspire us to finish was simply the icing on the cake.
The terrain was no cakewalk, though. The climbs were reminiscent to that in the Sierra’s and the weather and coming autumn were against us.
Cannabis for the Goods Times and Bad
The emotional challenge of this final stage was overwhelming. After nearly five months on the trail, the quest for the finish line seemed to be ever far away with the obstacle course that lay ahead.
All we wanted to do was wrap all orifices of our bodies around that monument and belt tunes from our lungs that we didn’t know we could hit. But with the difficulties came the rewards. We all used cannabis for both at this stage of the trip.
The medical use was obvious. We were all sick of ibuprofen, which had stopped working for us. Cannabis became the comforting relief that we all needed night and day.
We used it for our accomplishments up the incredibly difficult climbs that drained us emotionally, mentally, and physically. The views at the top, and bud to enhance that beauty further was what the, “Green Trail,” was all about.
One could ask all the PCT Thru-Hikers that started in Mexico and finished the trail at the border of Canada; if cannabis was part of their trip. Nearly every one would say yes. Whether they still use it, is questionable. But for many, looking back at what we all went through, we couldn’t see how the cool buzz of whiskey and the awful hangover that comes with it, could be comparable.
We are all grateful that cannabis was part of our journey.