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slideshow

Pacific Crest Trail: A Ride to Remember

OPB | Jan. 24, 2011 9 p.m. | Updated: Sept. 4, 2013 10 a.m.

June and Don Mulford became the first to ride the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in one year.

June and Don Mulford became the first to ride the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in one year.

June Mulford and the Pacific Crest Trail Association

In 1959 Washington ranchers Don and June Mulford decided to try what everybody said couldn’t be done — ride the entire length of the 2,400 mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in one year.  It would prove to be the adventure of a lifetime.  Armed with a movie and slide camera they documented life on the trail and captured surprises along the way.  A Ride to Remember showcases their stunning photography and will delight viewers with memories still fresh after fifty years.

In 1959 Washington ranchers Don and June Mulford decided to attempt the first “Thru-Ride” from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail.  At the time the 2,400-mile trail stretching across California, Oregon and Washington was poorly marked and not fully coordinated between the three states.  In California in particular the trail would often disappear for miles - and off maps - with no signs to show the way.

While contacting the Forest Service and Park Services for maps and information the Mulfords were invariably told that the trip couldn’t be done in one “season” or year because of changing weather conditions.  But they were determined and decided to give it a try.  As June Mulford remembers, “We’ll just keep going until we can’t go any further.”

The Mulfords started their journey on April 19, 1959 and ended at the Canadian border on September 25, 1959.   The trip carried them from parched Southern California to rugged mountain passes perched on the spines of the High Sierras and Cascades.  Armed with a movie and still camera they documented their life on the trail capturing stunning scenery and many surprises along the way. 

Their extraordinary trip attracted extensive media coverage and helped draw attention to the need for the Pacific Crest Trail to be improved, maintained and coordinated between the states. Today the PCT is nearly complete and well-traveled by hikers and riders. 

A Ride To Remember is told entirely with Don’s narrative voice taken from the Mulford’s original movie, Mexico to Canada Trailride, and a recent interview with June who enthusiastically retells an adventure still fresh in her mind after more than 50 years.

Resources

 

Articles

“Giving Trail History Its Due: The 1959 PCT Thru-Ride of Don and June Mulford,” Barney “Scout” Mann

Pacific Crest Trail Communicator, December 2009, Vol. 21, No. 5.

 

Web sites

Pacific Crest Trail Association

U.S. Forest Service

The Oregon Historical Society

 

Broadcast Date: January 24, 2011

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OREGON EXPERIENCE is a co-production of Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Oregon Historical Society.