Orienting to the Pacific Crest Trail

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — December 14, 2011

I unfolded my brain map and laid it out this way and that orienting to the contours of what it takes to wander a couple thousand miles on a trail.

PCT Trail Marker
A PCT trail marker in Northern California. Photo by Brett Fisher.

Some facts about the Pacific Crest Trail loomed out:

  • Fewer people have thru hiked the PCT than have climbed Mt. Everest.
  • 300 or so start out to hike the entire 2,660 mile trail each year but only 30 percent or so finish
  • If each step is two feet long, then 5280 feet/mile¬†√∑ 2 feet/step = 2640 steps/mile x 2660 miles = 7,022,400 steps. Adding in steps for side hikes and trekking to resupply points … let’s just call it 7,100,000 steps.

Of course, I next perused some books. Specifically, the three volume Pacific Crest Trail set by Jeffrey Schaffer, et al, published by Wilderness Press — The Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California, The Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California, and The Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon & Washington. One I bought, the other two came as birthday gifts. The guidebooks aren’t the easiest read. I often caught myself falling asleep while reading them. But they contain detailed information (although some say the information is dated).

Then I meandered through the internet to Pacific Crest Trail related sites — PCTA.org, PlanYourHike.com, Postholer.com, TrailJournals.com, and BackpackingLight.com. And to a couple, maybe less well known but informative sites — GottaWalk.com and Backpacker45.com.

I subscribed to the PCT-L and attentively read the daily digest (the day’s email discussion batched together in a single email).

Finally, I watched online videos. Some were referred by PlanYourHike.com. Some I came across searching YouTube. Some were recommended by contributors on the PCT-L.

The map brain said, “Hold on, that’s a lot of information. Need to process and sort and organize.” And the hiker body said, “Extraordinary! Let’s go!”

Brett on the PCT!

Thanks for reading. Have you prepared for hiking the PCT? What were your planning resources? Let us know about this or other thoughts on this post in the comments section below.

Click here to buy Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California Click here to buy Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California Click here to buy Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon & Washington and support Wander About!

You can buy The Wilderness Press PCT Guidebooks by clicking on the book cover images. Thanks much if you do.

Happy Trails!

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