People of the PCT: Elijah

This is Elijah.

Elijah grew up in Bozeman, Montana and is the second born out of nine kids. As a kid he would run away and live in the woods- he liked it there. He began working at age 11 to help support his mom and siblings.

Three weeks ago his grandparents drove him to Campo, California and dropped him off at the PCT trailhead. On the way down he saw the ocean for the first time, hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, laid eyes on his largest city (San Diego) and left the Rockies for the first time since he took a trip to Iowa at age six! “I thought I was going to be terrified being away from the comforts of home, but it has been great. The world is seeming smaller now because it used to seem just incomprehensible . I would say the weirdest thing so far is not carrying a gun”.

A year ago Elijah was 100 pounds heavier, a heavy drinker and a smoker. He “was pissed off at life, irritable and stressed out’ and “tired of being the fat guy”. He had suffered many injuries that he knew were attributable to his size and he was ready to make a change.

While working in Yellowstone National Park, he met a friend and now through-hiker that goes by the name Tribute- who was planning his PCT hike. He made a goal for himself to hike 1000 miles in 4 months. While working a full-time job, he was able to accomplish his goal and even go over it by 200 miles. He spent all of his free-time hiking. He saved money, sold many of his belongings -including his vehicles and after expenses, he now has about $1,500 to last him for this hike.

Now that he is here at mile 370 of the Pacific Crest Trail, his feet are blistered and the southern California sun has been really challenging. He “had to throw away pride, ease into the hike and take things as they came’. But he “feels great and can do 20 miles more comfortably”. I am less stressed, and I have time to think about my past and history more than I ever have before”. He  has gotten insight into his addictions and this is the longest period he hasn’t been drunk in 6 years. He is also not smoking.

Elijah said that he has always cared a lot about what people have thought about him but this hike is helping him care less. he is enjoying the simplicity of having to worry about less and believes his family is doing good without him.

He believes that it is never too late to make things happen and has gotten a kick out of being smoked on the trail by folk in their 70’s.

We are excited to hike on the same trail as Eli!

Also- The Hiker Tribut as mentioned above is hiking “to end child abuse”. He is working in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital Foundation to raise funds for child abuse education and prevention. Check out his cause at