Mark Schramm, from Medford, Oregon, completed his 2020 thru-hike in mid-July by combining the Bigfoot Trail and Trinity Alps High Route. He began on June 20th and finished on July 19th.
During a phone conversation he reported a fabulous trip highlighted by seeing barely anyone along the trail (outside the Pacific Crest Trail and Redwood sections). He reported the most difficult section being the entirety of Wooley Creek to the Pacific Crest Trail in the Marble Mountains (a new target for BFTA Trailwork in 2021!). What follows are Mark’s responses to our questions about the hike.
What inspired you to hike the Bigfoot Trail?
I’d heard about the trail several years ago and ever since I’ve wanted to do it. I’ve been busy with other trails the past few years (CDT, GDT) but this year a local and mostly remote trail seemed like a good idea. Super stoked I did it and not seeing anyone else on it was just fine with me.
What were some highlights of your thru-hike?
Seeing new territory in areas I’d previously hiked was really nice. Being from Southern Oregon, I’ve done lots of exploring in many areas that include the BFT but found the actual trail took me into some new landscapes, I appreciated that. Highlights would include the solitude. Scenery-wise it’s hard to beat the Trinities (doing the TAHR as a side trip also helped with that) and the PCT Marbles are also a lovely piece of trail (a side trip to Hancock lake was fantastic, my new fave Marbles lake!). Plus the Red Buttes are near and dear to my heart.
What were some challenges of the thru-hike?
For me a road walk is a challenge (give me trail, any kind of trail or cross country anything but road), so the long stretches of that were tough. Otherwise just the typical route finding through overgrown areas, faint trail, or a few stretches with lots of deadfall. All stuff that comes with every long distance trail. Just gotta go with the flow and find pleasure in going slow or getting off track now and then.
Any tips for future hikers?
Be comfortable in solitude and with few other hikers to interact with. The trail is not well known yet so it’s likely to not see many (or any in my case) people on it. Most of the route is pretty clear but not all of it so be comfortable with a very faint or seemingly not existent trail at times.
My advice for this trail would be the same for any: be thorough more than thru (I consider myself a thorough hiker more than a thru hiker-and it’s always possible to be both :). Enjoy it at a relaxed pace, take your time and savor it. Take the time to explore on and off the trail; side hikes and towns near the trail. I really enjoyed side hikes in the Trinities and Marbles plus a nice visit and zero day in Weaverville that was unplanned. Look at your map to see what’s around the trail that might be worth visiting since you may never be in the area again, make the most of it.
Have you hiked all or part of the trail? Let us know so we can report usage to the Forest Service and we will send you a BFT care package.