The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a national scenic trail that stretches over 2,700 miles from Mexico to Canada. The trail runs along the ridgelines of several mountain ranges (San Gabriel, Sierra Nevada, Cascades, etc) in California, Oregon and Washington. Every year, about 300 hikers set foot on the PCT and attempt to hike twenty miles a day for five months. Most thru hikers start at the southern terminus in late April and hike northbound. In Southern California the desert heat and finding scarce water sources are the main concerns. In Central California, itís the snow conditions in the high mountain passes and fast moving streams that must be forded that present challenges. Further north the strong frontal storms and number of rainy days pose a threat to hikerís spirits. But the daily rewards of living outside for five months far outweigh the trails threats and challenges.
I thru hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) (2,200 miles; Georgia to Maine) when I was eighteen years old. I had so much fun hiking the AT that I hoped to create another long trail opportunity later in life. Well, here I am thirteen years later with that opportunity. My life is not that much different from back then other than I donít have a six pack mid section, my recovery time is measured in days and not hours and I have all of these additional responsibilities in life. Maybe I am reaching back into my younger years wanting to relive those days on the AT. Itís like saying "If I knew what I know now and have money, college would have been that much better." Or maybe, itís the simple reason that I love the outdoors and I want to explore the West Coast. I know that my desire is not about the numbers or bragging rights to doing something adventurous. I think that our national trail system is built and maintained so that people can enjoy a breath of fresh air and leave their egos at the door. Nature always has a beautiful way of humbling oneís self opinion through foul weather and near death experiences. It has done that to me several times.
I committed to thru hiking the PCT over two years ago and have been preparing ever since. I am elated that the time has arrived and I have a chance to walk through some of Americaís natural treasures like the Mojave Desert, Yosemite National Park, Mt. Whitney and the Columbia Valley. I could not have gotten to this point without so many peopleís help and support. The allure of the PCT is that it is hard. I am as mentally, spiritually and physically prepared as I can be so here we go, itís time to relax and have a wonderful five month hike!
Read more at Pacific Crest Trail Association's official site.