Brother and sister tackle Pacific Crest Trail

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A brother-sister duo is in the middle of an adventure keeping them away from family, friends and their jobs as nurses for the next few months. They aren't even halfway through the Pacific Crest Trail, but already they have their sights set on their next hike.

Through October, most of what Hugo Sotelo and Graciela Loaeza need for their 2,600-mile excursion will be found in two backpacks. Since beginning the hike in May, the siblings have covered a lot of ground: about 700 miles. The Pacific Crest Trail starts at the border of Mexico and takes them all the way up to Canada.

"Whenever somebody comes up to us they ask 'so where are you going?' I'm like 'Canada.' They look at us like 'what?!'" said Sotelo.

Sotelo and Loaeza moved to Fresno six years ago and have always enjoyed day hiking. But until this adventure, their longest hike lasted seven days.

"I never said 'I can't do this anymore.' I would say things like, 'It's difficult, it's challenging,' but every day I keep on moving," said Loaeza.

Most of the appeal for this challenge comes from wanting to explore the great outdoors and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The route passes through seven national parks and reaches elevations higher than 13,000 feet.

"I take pictures, and the pictures just don't really convey what you're looking at when you're there," said Sotelo.

What helps keep them going during this physically strenuous trek is meeting others along the way.

"Everyone who you see out there walking or just listening they always have a huge smile on their face, and they always look so happy to be there," said Sotelo.

Loaeza and Sotelo get a lot of help from volunteers, strangers in every city they stop through. It's also during those breaks that they reach out to their family.

"Every time we get a chance -- either when we are in town or we get a little bit of reception -- we try to check in because otherwise they go crazy," said Loaeza.

They resume their adventure Saturday and are looking forward to getting past the tough California terrain. When it's all over, they can't wait to tackle the next hike -- hopefully with more people joining their adventure.

"One of the biggest things I want to do is I want to include other people who I know who are in my life so that they can experience it because it really opens up a world for you when you do something like it," said Sotelo.
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