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Hey, Soupbean, start hiking

Hikers shuck their routine -- and their given names -- beginning this month to tackle the 2,650-mile trek between Mexico and Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. Most will travel south to north for 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 months if they go all the way. Some will adopt trail names like Soupbean, Blaze, Memory Lapse, Molasses and French Fry and Yucca (a couple). Brian Robinson of San Jose will attempt to become the first to yo-yo the trail -- make it up and back -- in one year, a cakewalk for a man who pulled off the triple crown of hiking in 2001 by completing in that year the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide and Appalachian trails. Total mileage: 7,401. This year, the PCT could use an extreme makeover. Southern California wildfires last fall burned a 13-mile segment through the Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area 20 miles north of San Bernardino. “The trail is obliterated,” says Liz Bergeron, executive director of the Pacific Crest Trail Assn. “We’re working on a plan to get hikers around this area. The trail is there, it’s just not that scenic.” But the April issue of the association’s magazine, the Communicator, offers a glorious peek at the trail through the camera lenses. Frank Romejko of Danville, Calif., claimed second place in the annual photo contest with “Sunrise on Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness, California,” above. The pro-PCT group also sponsors a daylong Trail Fest on Saturday in Sacramento that includes a state-of-the-trail session, a class on packing tips from a go-light guru and a panel of recent through-hikers who discuss individual sections of the trail. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt speaks at a 7 p.m. awards dinner. Kick-off festivities for through-hikers and others is April 23-24 at Lake Morena, Calif., Mile 20 from the trail’s southern starting point. For more information on the Pacific Crest Trail, go to www.pcta.org or call (916) 349-2109.


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