The PCT, A Fools Errand
What is the PCT? Well, it’s the Pacific Crest Trail. But unless you are in hiking circles, from the United States or have read and/or watched the epitome of mediocrity, “Wild”, you probably have never heard of it. According to wikipedia, “The PCT is a long-distance hiking and equestrian, trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges”.
By now, all of your questions are probably answered, but I will continue just out of personal habit of providing too much information. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, is a continuos ‘foot-path’ of 4,279km or 2650mi, from the Southern Terminus (Campo) at the U.S/Mexican Border (I am unsure but I think the Trump border wall is still under construction…), to the Northern Terminus (Manning Park) at the U.S/Canadian border. Along the way it passes through the states of California, Oregon and Washington.
Officially finished and declared open in 1993, the PCT generally takes the entire snow free season to complete, so around 5 months on average. Some elite athletes complete the PCT in as little as 2 months, with those completing it in sub 100 days averaging well over 50km (30mi) per day. So if you are the height of averageness in terms of human beings, such as myself, around 5 1/2 months.
The general tactic of the PCT is to either resupply as you go, send packages ahead to resupply points, or a combination of both. I will be resupplying as I walk the trail, and sending ahead some small packages to tactical places, such as winter gear to the beginning of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Resupplying ‘as you go’ requires a lot less preparation and planning, so perfect for laid back people such as myself. The down side of the ‘as you go’ method, is having to leave the trail every 6 or so days to resupply. This means spending the day hitch-hiking and shopping, known as ‘zero-days’, where, you guessed it, you achieve zero milage.
Over the entirety of the trail everything that a person needs to survive the outdoors will be carried on their back (Usually people put these things in a pack). Generally I will be carrying up to 6 days of food, 4-6L of water and all of my sleeping and cooking gear, including tent, cooker, pots and cutlery. Spending every night sleeping in a tent, and everyday pooping in the bushes. All luxury items will be left at home, along with a change of clothes, and deodorant.
Above everything else this trail is an amazing experience. 150 days sleeping in a tent in the wilderness, leaving the trappings of everyday life. No work. no constant phone checking. No responsibilities. Just putting one foot in front of the other……for 150 days or more.
There are a lot of challenges along the trail, and a lot of reasons that people quit before Canada. With a little bit of perseverance, and a lot of luck, hopefully I wont get bitten by a rattlesnake, mauled by a bear or cougar, fall off a mountain, freeze to death or just plain sprain an ankle. Oh and don’t forget everybody, this walk is for charity, so help me reach my fundraising target for the ‘Kiss Goodbye To MS’ campaign. Show your support by Donating. Every dollar helps.