The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,663.5 mile hiking trail that runs from the Mexican border at Campo to Manning Park which is located 8 miles into Canada from Washington State. The PCT is a national scenic trail that traverses three states (California, Oregon, and Washington). I will climb 60 some mountain passes; descend into 19 major canyons; pass more than 1000 lakes; 3 national monuments; 7 national parks (Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, Crater Lake, Mt. Rainier and North Cascades National Park), 24 national forests; and 37 federally mandated wilderness areas.
The PCT starts out in a desert like area that is hot, dry and rugged. It passes through mountains that are tall, steep and snowy (Forrester Pass 13,153 feet). The trail will require crossing creeks, streams and rivers; climbing over rocks, logs and bridges. In the course of hiking the trail I will climb over 314,711 feet of up and down climbing of hills and mountains and then into valleys, canyons and meadows. The lowest point of the trail is the Cascade Locks of Oregon, at 140 feet above sea level. The highest point along the trail is Forester Pass, California, at 13,153 feet. I will hike 1,698.8 miles in California, 456.8 miles in Oregon and 499.8 miles in Washington. (More people have climbed Mt. Everest than have completed a thru hike of the PCT.)
Most hikers attempting to thru-hike the PCT will begin their journey in mid to late April. There is a kick off for hikers the last weekend of April called the “Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off” (ADZPCTKO) which is held at Lake Morena, near Campo. The idea is to begin the southern portion of the hike early enough to avoid the extreme high temperatures of the desert and arrive at the southern portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Kennedy Meadows) when the snow pack has had time to melt (June 10-15). Once a hiker makes it to Kennedy Meadows the goal is to make Canada before the snow begins to fall in Washington (Late September – Early October). The hike should take roughly five months to complete.
I will encounter snakes, spiders, mosquitoes, bears and poison oak. I will carry everything I need on my back in a pack that will weigh in at about 20 pounds, less food and water. I will use a tent (Big Agnes Fly Creek / 2 pounds) and cook at least one hot meal a day. Granted the food will be freeze-dried or dehydrated, but hopefully good enough to eat every day for five months.
- Life is made of experiences and I hope to have as many as possible.
- Unfulfilled dreams become regrets and I intend to have as few as possible.
- To share in something unique, that few have known or will ever know.
- To learn about my limitations.
- To learn about the world and to better understand my place in the natural order of things.
- To avoid living a life that has already been played out by countless others.
- To think, dream, imagine and to reflect, unencumbered by the distractions of life.
- To endure mental and physical hardships and perhaps become stronger as a result.
- To learn what is truly important in life.