ISB News

ISBers Doing Cool Things: Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

ISB research associate David Baxter during a break at Mt. Baden-Powell outside of Wrightwood, California. David hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail.

ISB research associate David Baxter during a break at Mt. Baden-Powell outside of Wrightwood, California. David hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail.

Would you consider hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Campo, California, on the Mexican border all the way north to Manning Park, British Columbia? David Baxter, a research associate at ISB, hiked 2650 miles from April to September 2012 and recently gave a presentation about his journey. Before he left, he said this about why he wanted to complete the hike: “I’ve been hiking for about 10 years now and have wanted to do this for a long time. I spent two months on the Appalachian Trail in 2010 and 3 weeks on the John Muir Trail (in 2011).”

David traveled with a Spot Communicator and made occasional posts on this blog. He made a short video consisting of 10-second snippets of his time on the trail, which can be seen here. Visit David’s Flickr page for a gallery of images from the trail. And here’s a one-hour class video made from clips that other hikers submitted.

Q: What was the greatest impact that the journey had on you, David?

David Baxter: The biggest change is hard to answer. I suppose just realizing how little one needs to be comfortable, how much instant communication and electronics have changed peoples lives, and an even greater need to simplify. I live pretty frugally as it is but gave away even more possessions when I returned that suddenly seemed useless to me.

Q: What did you give away?

DB: Mostly random trinkets I’d built up over the years and had in a storage bin, all my DVDs, and extra pieces of hiking gear that I’d been holding on to.

Q: What next?

DB: Well, I’m still out hiking and climbing every weekend.  I would love to take another leave of absence in the next year or two to complete the other two major long-distance trails in the U.S. When I finish the Appalachian Trail (Georgia to Maine) and Continental Divide Trail (New Mexico to Montana) I’ll have the “Triple Crown” badge.
Congratulations, David!

Recent Articles

  • ISB Associate Professor Dr. Sean Gibbons

    ‘1 in 1,000:’ Dr. Sean Gibbons Named Highly Cited Researcher for 2023

    ISB Associate Professor Dr. Sean Gibbons was named a Highly Cited Researcher for 2023. It is the second consecutive year Gibbons has earned the distinction. The Highly Cited Research list is generated annually by Clarivate, which says: “Of the world’s population of scientists and social scientists, Highly Cited Researchers are 1 in 1,000.”

  • Spotlight on ISB Education graphic

    2023-24 School Year ISB Education Highlights

    Each month throughout the 2023-2024 academic year, we will highlight some of the top projects the ISB Education team is working on.

  • Breakthrough T Cell Discovery Has Huge Potential for Engineering Custom Immune Responses

    In a breakthrough discovery that changes how we understand T cells and with implications of how we can better engineer custom immune responses to fight disease, Institute for Systems Biology researchers showed that the different disease-fighting functions of different T cells are determined by the genetically encoded T-cell receptor sequence that are unique to those cells.