The U.S. is crisscrossed by a network of National Scenic Trails. They are long distance hiking trails with the Appalachian Trail (AT), located on the east coast, being the oldest, and one of the most well known. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is the west coast version.
At 2,660 miles the Trail winds through six of the seven ecosystems in North America including the desert of Southern California where I’ll be starting my journey, old-growth forest, alpine country, and the rain forest of the Pacific Northwest. Hikers on the PCT will experience a wide range of altitudes from sea level to 13,000 feet and an equally varied temperature ranging from scorching desert days to below freezing nights.
Starting in April I will be one of the roughly 300 hikers that start the PCT with the goal of hiking from the Mexican boarder through California, Oregon, and Washington to the Canadian boarder before the snow flies in October. To accomplish this journey, a thru-hiker will have to average 15 to 30 miles a day of hiking. I will be carrying a pack weighing (hopefully) less than 30 pounds. Inside the pack I’ll have everything I’ll need to walk and camp out for 5 months. I’ll have a tent, a warm jacket, a place to store my water and a way to treat it; I’ll have a cook-pot and stove, a spoon and a knife, and a bag of food that I’ll replenish with short trips into nearby towns.