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Emily Pennington | 05.31.2019
This photo essay originally appeared on Brazen Backpacker. Emily Pennington is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles, California. Find more of her work on her website and on all social media @BrazenBackpacker.

This year, I trekked high up into the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles to bring a dash of trail magic deep into the backcountry. My partner and I carried in 12 pounds of fresh fruit and veggies to thru-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. It ended up being one of the most memorable mountain weekends I’ve ever had.

These brave souls amble their way up and down a narrow strip of trail from Mexico to Canada, hiking over 2,650 miles in the process. They give each other wild trail names like Sherlock, Pinkman, and Crush, and harbor a Lost Boys-style camaraderie. We caught up with them somewhere near mile 400, by all accounts an early pit stop on a 4- to 6-month journey. I embarked on this portrait project to showcase the beautiful abandon written all over each one of their faces.

If you’re never been a trail angel for long distance backpackers before, I can’t recommend it enough. Their stories made me laugh until my cheeks hurt and remember to carpe the hell out of every last diem.

Images are best rendered in full screen on a large monitor. Click through to the slideshow to view the images.


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