The trail let it be known from the outset that Scott and Matt Stearns’ trek would not be a cake walk.
Brothers Scott and Matt Stearns of Saegertown have blown the brotherhood paradigm out of the water.
While many twenty-something brothers sustain their relationship with brief family gatherings or the occasional baseball game, the Stearns brothers hatched a plan to quit their jobs, catch a ride to northern Washington state and hike the entire 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail from there to the U.S-Mexico border in California last year.
At age 23, Matt Stearns, a recent Washington & Jefferson College grad, was just months into a promising career with a materials science firm in Pittsburgh. Scott Stearns, 28, was a successful graphic designer with a large real estate, entertainment and accommodations company in Erie. Both men enjoyed their chosen careers, but perhaps suffered from a touch of wanderlust.
Scott Stearns floated the idea of hiking the trail a few years back, according to Matt Stearns. “I was familiar with the Appalachian Trail, of course, but had never heard of the Pacific Crest Trail before that time. The more I researched the trail and its features and terrain, the more intrigued I became.”
But the two went on with their lives for the next couple years, until a Christmas gift exchange put the prospect of a Pacific Crest Trail hike back on the table.
“In 2015, we gave each other hiking-related Christmas gifts, mainly just because we both had an interest in hiking and not so much because we had a plan,” Matt Stearns said.
Shortly after those holidays, and after plenty of introspection, Matt Stearns called Scott Stearns one day and said, “I might leave my job. Do you want to go hike this trail, and would you be willing to quit your job if I quit my job?”
Scott Stearns said yes without hesitation. It seems the two had been having similar internal dialogues. And just like that, the wheels were set in motion.
“I think we both realized we were in positions we wanted to get out of as soon as possible and move on to something else. We both were ready to take off,” Matt Stearns recalled. “This idea was just floating around in the back of our heads and things just lined up, so we went for it.”
That was around March 2016 — less than four months before the two would hit the trail.
Matt Stearns quit his job the first week of June. Scott Stearns quit his the first week of July. The two took their first steps on the Pacific Crest Trail on July 17. The pair spent the brief interim stocking up on gear and supplies, planning and accelerated physical training.
“Our friends were really supportive,” Scott Stearns said. “They know us as outdoorsy people. Everyone was excited. They were ready to take the journey with us in spirit.”
Their mom, Jeanne Stearns, while supportive, was a bit less enthusiastic. “She didn’t want us to go out into the wilderness,” Scott…