There are two reactions when I tell people of my plans to hike the Pacific Crest Trail for 2 weeks this summer. Some say, “That is so cool!”, and some say, “You’ve got to be crazy!”. Regardless of whether people think it’s “cool” or “crazy”, everyone gives me a blank stare of bewilderment when I inform them I will be hiking alone. I’m still confused as to whether people actually think I’m going to be a tasty snack for the wildlife, or be stalked by a crazed serial killer; or does it all boil down to people believing a female has no business being in the wilderness alone for anything longer than a day hike?
After all, it wasn’t uncommon for me to take off to a local wilderness trail for the day when I lived in Vancouver. It was also quite normal for me to take the quad or dirt bike for a rip up a logging road during camping trips. Furthermore, not a single person expressed a single worry when I went skydiving. So, you can imagine why I’m slightly confused as to why people are so vocal about their objections to this upcoming hike. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware of the risks, and am extremely realistic in the thoughts of all the dangers that I will encounter everyday while on trail. Saying that, the dangers in the wilderness scare me far less than the dangers I encounter everyday in civilization. I’m more likely to die in a vehicle accident while driving to work than succumbing to anything the trail throws at me (I’m putting money on highway 7 taking me down before a mountain lion ever will).
Once I had my own fears sorted out (no, not the fear of being some creature’s lunch, or being squished by a falling boulder -yes, someone is actually worried about that-, my fears consist more of ‘am I physically capable of completing this goal?’), it was time to tell my parents this trip was set in stone…
Over the next few months, as I continue preparing for my July 18th departure, I will share the information I’ve gathered, my gear list, which sections I will be hiking, my thoughts, fears, expectations, and the reasons that have compelled me to follow through with this adventure. While on trail, I hope to record each day’s events in a journal, which I will share with all of you upon my return (unless I become some creatures snack, of course.)
So, until next time, I’ll leave you with some notable Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) facts:
- Length: 2660miles/ 4279 km’s
- Location: California USA, Oregon USA, Washington USA, Manning Park British Columbia
- Trail Heads: Campo, California, USA (Southern Terminus) to Manning Park, British Columbia, Canada (Northern Terminus).
- Elevation: Highest Point- Forester Pass 13,153f Lowest Point- Cascade Locks 140ft
- Trail Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
- Hazards: Sever Weather, Dehydration, Wildlife
- Months: Late April to Late September
- It takes the average hiker about 5 months to complete the entire trail (I’m attempting 270 miles in 14 days. More on that in future articles.).
- Crosses 26 National Forests, 7 National Parks, 5 State Parks, and 4 National Monuments.
- In 2015, 2486 Northbound thru-hike permits were issued. Only 600 hikers reported completion.*
*It’s important to note that these numbers are self reported, meaning they are not a true count of PCT Completions, both because finishers who don’t bother to report their completion, and the PCT Organization dose not verify anyone’s claims of completion. ~ pcta.org