One Teacher, One Trail, 2600 Miles


| Via Kirk Hays

Hays celebrates the view with a picture among the mountains.

- Tage Rex, Writer

Hays (left), his wife (middle), and his brother (right) are on the trail. Via Kirk Hays.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in nature? Some people like to camp or go hiking, but accounting teacher and tennis coach Kirk Hays takes it to another level. In the summer of 2015, He hiked along the Pacific Crest Trail, which starts at the northern border of Mexico and goes all the way to the southern border of Canada. That is nearly 2600 Miles! Hays did not take this trek alone though, as he was fortunate enough to convince not only his brother but his girlfriend (now his wife) to go with him. In an interview with Hays, he said “I think that anyone who is willing to hike all the way across the country with me deserves to be my wife.” 

The trip took about 4 and a half months total, with a few short stops in town to get cleaned up and buy things they needed. As to be expected, it was not always an easy hike. When asked about the hardest day of the trip, Hays relayed this memory: “About 2000 miles in, one morning the temperature dropped and a storm blew in and we woke up to a foot of snow outside our tent. We got to the bottom of

Hays notes the ridiculous amount of food needed to make the 4.5-month trek. Via Kirk Hays.

a mountain we were about to hike up, and some people were at the bottom advising us not to go, as they had tried the day before but the path was incredibly difficult. Despite their warning, we decided to go up. After many hours of agonizing hiking in freezing temperatures, I still had some hope with me that once we reached the top that it would be smooth sailing. We finally summited, only to find that the trail never got better and that the hope was in vain. Everywhere the eye could see was covered in deep snow and we were not getting out of it any time soon.” Although claiming he did not shed any tears, he said that “For the first time in probably 5 years I really felt like crying”. 

Even through the difficult days, the beauty of the landscape that Hays hiked shone bright and made it more than worth it. Walking through countless valleys, climbing a number of mountain peaks, and discovering many frigid yet beautiful crystal-clear lakes that have seldom been touched by the unnatural hand of humankind. Hays claims (and anybody who has been hiking would agree) that photos cannot do justice to the true beauty of the landscape, but that does not take away from the fact that the pictures reveal an incredible view.

Hays captures a beautiful landscape even on an iPhone 7 Plus. Via Kirk Hays.

Another reason Hays loves the great outdoors is the people you can meet. Once he and his company finally reached the end of the trail, they were at a loss for how they would return home. They were lucky enough to find a fellow hiker who offered to drive them back to California simply out of kindness. Because of the shared experience that was backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail, Hays made it home. 

Hays has been on many trails since then, having hiked over 3600 miles over the recent years. The Colorado Trail and the Three Sisters Loop are other significant trails he has hiked, and there are many more to come.