East Sycamore

Pacific Coast Trail? March 21st, 2018

I got a pretty big hike coming up here soon. In about a month I set off to attempt to thru-hike the PCT.

Pacific… Coast… Trail?

It’s the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m going to be traveling north from the Mexico-US border to the Canada-US border. Did you see that movie Wild? Yeah, same trail but hoping for a better outcome.

How long is it?

How long will it take or what is the distance of the trail? I’m starting in about a month and I’m hoping to be done around October 1st. Although I don’t know exactly when (or if) I’ll finish, I need to be out of those mountains before winter hits up north. The trail itself is about 2,660mi.

Over 2,000 miles? 5 months!

Yep. It’s a big one.

How in the hell are you going to do that?

One foot after the other, over and over again.

Wait, are you going by yourself?

Sure am.

That’s crazy! What about snakes and bears and stuff?

Admittedly after I’ve started there are going to be quite a few people out there. Groups of folks who share similar interests and hiking pace usually clump together and stick it out for a few hundred (or thousand) miles.

In terms of animal attacks, the trail is pretty safe. Bears are more or less big dogs for the most part. Only two thru-hikers have ever been bitten bit rattlesnakes: One was when a guy got a “dry bite” and didn’t actually inject any venom into him. The other was a woman who went to the hospital for anti-venom and ended up making a full recovery and finishing her hike in the same year. Mountain lions aren’t a huge threat unless you’re a small child and hiking alone. Admittedly a small child hiking alone is far scarier than anything else that might live out there.

Are you going to hunt or fish? How do you carry enough food for 5 months?

My pack has a capacity to carry up to around 8-10 days worth of food. There are plenty of towns along the way that’ll allow me to resupply. I have plenty of resources to let me know where good grocery stores are, etc.

Wait so you’re not out in the wild but going to town once a week?

Yes and no. Yes, I’m still very much out there and I’ll be going into towns for a few things. Picking up packages I’ve sent myself earlier, real food at a restaurant, laundromats to attempt to wash the stink out of my clothes, downloading maps, etc. I’ll also take around two weeks worth of “Zeros” where I’ll get a hotel room, hostel, to rest up, etc.

What are you going to do in camp every night?

Admittedly not a whole lot. I’ve got a few chores that I’ll need to take care of like actually setting up camp, filtering water, checking out maps for the following day, etc. Most nights I’ll be eating dinner and breakfast in bed.

What kind of tent do you have?

You can check out a full running list of all my gear here.

That’s crazy, so when do you start?

I’m leaving Chicago on April 24th and flying to San Diego. Once I arrive I got a few folks who help hikers get going picking me up from the airport and letting myself, and a handful of others, stay with them. On the 25th I’ll be headed to the Southern Terminus at the Mexico-US border to get things started.

That’s awesome. How much did that cost?

Free. Yeah really, free. They are some lovely folks for sure. I’ll be donating to the PCTA on their behalf.

5 months huh? How much do you need to hike a day?

Well, to start I’m really focused on letting my body adjust to the onslaught ahead and allow it to adjust to the new routine. My goal right now for the first two “hell weeks” is about 10-12mi a day. After that, I’ll average out and I am currently shooting for an overall average pace of roughly 17mi a day. If everything works out and I find myself in Oregon, having 30mi days is pretty common.

30 miles? No way

Sounds pretty fishy for sure. But hiking the 1,500 miles to get to that point almost every day will get you in shape pretty quick.

Didn’t you say you hurt yourself? How are your knees?

They’re good… Hopefully… We’ll see. I’m going.

About a month left…