On the 14th of April 2014 I flew out to San Diego to begin my first long distance hike
I was about to start hiking the Pacific Crest Trail
At the age of 52 with nil hiking experience and with two dodgy knees I had decided to hike one of Americas gruelling long-distance foot paths
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.
I had estimated that this hike would take me approx. five to six months to complete.
I started on the Mexican border with intense heat , slogged through the desert, before climbing up into the Sierras .In the Sierras I encounter all types of snow and conditions some that scared the crap out of me .Once over this mountain range I dropped down into Oregon then on to Washington and the Canadian border
One day I was getting a newspaper when a book on the shelf caught my eye
It was Called “the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”
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. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life.
It was 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
Later I found out that an old friend was currently hiking the Camino trail, 500-mile walk to Santiago I was impressed and again I thought I would like to have ago at that.
Whilst at work one day I managed to snap my wrist opening a door.
After being plastered up I spent several days sat at home watching day time telly, and was beginning to go 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 plop 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
Thank you Cheryl Strayed
I completed my Thruhike in September 2014
I have to say, like Cheryl in her book I started green and with too much stuff and therefore an overweight pack and so the first few days my language was blue and OMG what have I done , I quit my job flew 5,200 miles and I just cant do it
But I didn’t give up, it was a very steep learning curve throwing gear away that’s has cost me a lot of money but was the wrong type to carry on the pct. and several shakedowns later
I was beginning to know what I was doing.
If you ever get the chance to try it then go
I have to say on the PCT. I only ever met one wanker, the rest are great people who all have the same goal as you and that is to get to Canada
During my hike I heard great tails of two other large trails the Appalachian trail and the continental divide trail.
A lot of hikers try to complete all three giving themselves blagging rights to say that they are a triple crowner .
So, once the Pacific Crest trail was completed, I began researching the Appalachian trail, but it would take me several years to save the money to allow me to go
In September 2018 I completed my Through hike of the Appalachain thrail
Search:- snailtrainers adventures
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
I have seen various figures mentioned. My hiking budget for the PCT was £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.”