Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

About Jacob

I’m Jacob Leistra, the guy above with the goofy smile. That was me at Columbine Lake in the Mineral King Valley of Sequoia National Park. On that day in August 2017, I fell in love with backpacking.

I’m a DevOps-minded systems engineer that loves rock climbing and music. In May 2019 I quit my job to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I wanted to journal some of my trip, so I decided to spin up a website. I’m using GitHub to host my repo, and Netlify to serve the site. The theme is Barber by Samesies. All writing and photography are my own.

“Game Boy?”

Most hikers on long distance thru-hikes pick up trail names. These names can come from mannerisms, foods they eat, funny things they say, etc.

In September 2017 I hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT), a 170-mile loop around Lake Tahoe. Shortly before my hike, I bought a cheap hat from Etsy with a purple Game Boy patch on it. I wore this hat for my entire hike and some of the hikers I met called me “Game Boy.” I guess the name fits, because I hummed tunes from my favorite Game Boy games while I was hiking: Pokemon Red and Blue, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Metroid II.

We’ll see if the name sticks on the PCT.


Outside of high school and university essays, I’ve never really done much writing. In the spirit of taking big steps and doing new things–like the PCT–I’m committing to journaling my days for the next few months. Much of what I write will be what I’m thinking about, what I’m experiencing, and how my hike is going.

Ultralight Hiking

My backpacking style is to buy excellent quality, ultralight equipment from small cottage makers, and to carry only what I need to safely enjoy my hike. As many hikers will attest, knowledge is lighter than gear you’ll never use. I approach my gear selection with the mindset that if I can carry less I can hike more.

Over the past few years I’ve had issues with my right patella and iliotibial (IT) band. Being ultralight means I can miminimize the chance of reinjury while enjoying more of the time on my feet.

If you’d like to know what I’m carrying on the PCT, check out the the LighterPack link in the header.