On the 14th of April I flew out to San Diego to begin my hike of the Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a long-distance hiking trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, which lie 100 to 150 miles (160 to 240 km) east of the U.S. Pacific coast. The trail’s southern terminus is on the U.S. border with Mexico, just south of Campo, California, and its northern terminus on the U.S.–Canada border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia; its corridor through the U.S. is in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.
The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,663 mi (4,286 km) long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon–Washington border to 13,153 feet (4,009 m) at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.
I would be hiking and living on the trail carrying all my supplies in my backpack. Coming off the trail every 5 to six days to resupply before re-joining. This hike will take me approx. five to six months to complete.
I start in the heat of the desert, climb into the mountain’s troop through snow before dropping down into Oregon then on to Washington and Canada.
Who am I?
My name is Roger; I am a normal bloke fairly laid back with a mad sense of humour I have had a good life; like most people, it has had I’s has had difficulties, happiness and laughter
My life is nowhere near over but it needed something so aged 52 with two dodgy knees I decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with zero backpacking experience.
Yes, a 2664-mile adventure which will take me up to 6 months to complete.
It seems so many of friends and colleagues are off trekking Machu Picchu or exploring Saigon and their exploits are updated daily to Facebook
I too would love to explore these places, I crave adventure.
One day I was getting a newspaper when a book on the shelf caught my eye ……………….
When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life. Such an uplifting story and even though fiction I felt I would like to do something similar, but I did not have a goal or purpose to do such a feat.
Then I found out that an old friend was currently doing the pilgrims walk or Camino trail 500-mile walk to Santiago .Wow I was so impressed and again I thought I would like to have a go at that. Then whilst at work I managed to snap my wrist opening a door yes really . So after being plastered up I was sat at home watching day time telly, such fun! Worse it was my right hand so couldn’t really use it GRRRRR so I was going stir crazy. To escape I caught the bus to my mums for a change of scenery and whilst there I was going through a pile of Sunday magazines when I came across an article in the Sunday Mail’s “You magazine” about a lady called Cheryl Strayed.
Wow! What a story, I just had to get this book, as soon as I got home I was straight on to Amazon, and waited for the plod when at last the post man dropped in through my letter box
I raced through Cheryl’s memoirs, “Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found”, Which is her story of her three-month, 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), from the Mojave Desert in Nevada, through California and Oregon to Washington State. At just 26 and a first-time hiker, she walked the arduous trail largely alone, blistered and bruised, hungry, dirty and exhausted, wearing the same set of clothes for weeks, and frugally eking out a few dollars for food. It’s also the incredibly honest and deeply moving account of how, at 22, she suddenly lost her mother to cancer, then lost herself in grief – destroying her own early marriage and dabbling in drugs – before finally piecing herself back together in the wilderness of Western US.
This book has since been made into a film starring Reese Witherspoon
I think it’s a great story backdropped with the PCT’s amazing and breathtaking
Hiking Q and A’s
Do you have to be fit, young or strong to do a thru-hike?
I am not, but you do have to really, really want it.
How much does it cost to thru-hike the PCT?
I have seen various figures mentioned. My hiking budget £3000.
This does not include my kit, airfares etc. Just food and accommodation and a little for replacement kit I hope it is enough as it is all that I had! *
What is your Resupply Strategy?
As I was coming from the UK so my resupply strategy was quite basic I brought as I went, but from some towns I brought food and send it ahead Knowing that there could be a poor selection at that location **
What is the most important advice you would give to next year’s thru-hikers?
Get your base weight down, I carried far too much
(base weight is everything that you carry except food, water or fuel).
I typically hiked on my own, it was my own personnel challenge , but if you are going to buddy up then hike with people who make you laugh, and never, EVER complain. (Advice from Carrot Quinton)
Yes, it is beneficial to get your base weight down but don’t be anal.
You want to be happy, warm and comfortable, not miserable cold, and wet just to save a few ounces
Why Hike the PCT!
After reading Cheryl’s Street’s book, I decided I was going to do this walk, my own personal challenge; I was going to walk it on my own, experiencing freedom, excitement and fear. Challenge and adventure are words that may begin to describe ‘why’ I decided to do hike.
For me, it is hard to understand ‘why’ you would not do something like this if you had the health, finances and freedom to do so. I did not have the finances, but I was going and hope to finish the trail before I run out of money.
An experienced PCT hiker named Billy Goat once said
“If you have to ask, then you’ll never understand.”