Imagine packing a bag, grabbing your significant other and walking from Mexico to Canada!

That's pretty much what Ilion native Jason Cristman did this year when he and his girlfriend Emily Keddie of Fredonia set out to conquer the Pacific Crest Trail.

The trail runs more than 2,500 miles up the North American west coast from Mexico to Canada and is a favorite bucket-list trek for hiking enthusiasts.

Speaking to The Valley Side, Cristman recounted his journey beginning with flying to San Diego, CA where they started off on April 2 and walked a total of 12 miles on the first day.

By the end of the trip, the couple averaged about 20 miles per day when they finally reached the Canadian border 2,683 miles away on October 5.

While many east coast based hikers choose to tackle the closer-to-home Appalachain Trail, Cristman told The Valley Side he was up for a different challenge:

“It’s a lot cooler than the Appalachian Trail,” Cristman said. “It pretty much has every climate change along the trail – desert, mountain, rainforest in Washington. The Appalachian Trail is pretty much just forest the whole way.”

After returning home, Cristman says he kind of misses the experience, but will never forget it:

“Everything went completely flawless really,” he said. “I met tons of people and it’s overwhelming how incredible people are. There are still so many good people out there. So giving and nice. I can’t wait to pay that forward. I think that’s the biggest thing I took away from the trip. It was definitely a life-changing experience.”

You can read Cristman and Keddie's full account and see pictures at


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