Richard Brinkman lecture

WVC Speaks lecture series: Richard Brinkman discusses the Pacific Crest Trail

Media Contacts: Randy Mitchell, education and career planning director, 509.682.6858, or Libby Siebens, executive director community relations, 509.682.6436 (Mon. – Thurs.)

February 18, 2016

PCT image
Photo provided by Richard Brinkman.


The third presentation in the Wenatchee Valley College Speaks lecture series will feature sociology faculty Richard Brinkman and his hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. The lecture is Thursday, March 3, at 2 p.m. in McArthur Lecture Hall, Wenatchi Hall room 2105 and via interactive television on the WVC at Omak campus in Heritage Building room 901.

For those unable to attend the first event, a second presentation will be Thursday, March 10, at 7 p.m. in The Grove Recital Hall, Music and Art Center.

Both events are free and open to the public.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650 mile footpath that runs from Mexico to Canada. A notoriously up and down route, the PCT passes four national monuments, six national parks, five state parks, 25 national forests and 48 federal wilderness areas. Brinkman—who hiked the PCT from April through September, 2015—explored not only the incredible majesty of the trail, but a subculture of those who attempt to hike the entire length of the trail. He studied the long-distance hiking subculture as a participant observer and conducted interviews with fellow thru-hikers along the length of the trail. His journey took 150 days. Brinkman will present photos and stories of his trek.

Richard Brinkman photoBrinkman is collaborating with Marshall University sociology professor Dr. Kristi Fondren, who pioneered the first of such studies on the Appalachian Trail (AT), the PCT's sister trail on the Atlantic coast and one of three long trails in the United States. Fondren and Brinkman plan to present the first paper on the PCT subculture at the Society For The Study of Symbolic Interaction conference this August in Seattle. They hope it will be the first of many papers and publications. A few of the focal points of the research include the very strong emotional bonds that develop among long-distance hikers, how 'trail names' affect personal identity, and how our society and world could learn from the long-distance hiking subculture.

Brinkman is a sociology professor at WVC and has taught sociology at the college or university level since 1992. Prior to teaching full-time at WVC, Brinkman served the cities of Aberdeen, Wenatchee and Leavenworth, the latter as city administrator. Both his bachelor's and master's degrees are in sociology from the University of Oregon and Iowa State University respectively, and he served in the United States Peace Corps from 1990-92 in Central America. Brinkman has served many years with charitable organizations including The United Way and Red Cross, and performed comedy magic for many years benefitting such causes.

Daily parking passes on the Wenatchee campus cost $2. Parking permit machines are available in the Wells Hall/Music and Art Gallery, Smith Gym, Brown Library and Sexton Hall lots. Students must have valid WVC parking permits.

WVC Speaks is sponsored by the WVC Professional Development Committee.