How does hiking the Pacific Crest Trail look like?
The Pacific Crest Trail is a wilderness path going all the way from the Mexican border in California to Canada. That’s a long way! 🙂
I’ll hike through deserts, forests, over snow-covered passes and along alpine ridges. That’s why I take sun gloves & sunblock umbrella, but also micro spikes & ice axe.
To make it all way, I’ll need five to six months, doing more than twenty five kilometers per day. To restore now and then, exhausted, I’ll take a so-called zero day. Other days I’ll need to speed up. Because if I’m too slow, I’ll get lost in snow storms, ploughing through the last mountain range.
It’s easy to get lost in a whiteout. Late-hikers have disappeared.
I’ll wild camp in a little super light tent as there are no huts. Americans have a different philosophy for wilderness trails: they only occasionally touch civilization. In the European Alps, you meander through cozy mountain villages. A cappuccino and a bed is never far away. In the USA you might not cross a road for several weeks.
The different sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, each have their unique delights and threats.
The desert is blazingly hot, water is scarce and rattle snakes can catch me off guard. But the stunning beauty of the sunrise and the incredible starlit nights make up for it.
In the Sierra Nevada, slippery icy slopes, hungry bears and raging river crossings form a serious threat. But the majestic mountains and crystal clear lakes will mesmerize me.
Northern California mixes beautiful green forests on lovely mountains with post apocalyptic landscapes, caused by raging fires and heat waves and home to aggressive mosquito swarms.
Finally, the volcanic rocks of the Cascade mountains will destroy my shoes while endless rain (potentially transforming to snow storms) probably hammers down me. But the succession of impressive volcanoes and heavenly crater lakes, create images I’ll never forget.
Then, after I hopefully stumble on the Northern Terminus, the Monument in Canada at the end of the trail, I’ll be exhausted and dirty. But I expect to feel great and thankful, if I make it. For having not giving up, despite the tough times. For the adventures and the special encounters along the way. For an adventure of a lifetime, fueling me for the next phase in my life.
A word of gratitude
The stories of hikers and social research shows that a long wilderness journey is often a life changing experience. Hikers gain new insights when nature peels away urban layers, social expectations and daily routines. Their senses sharpen. Their mind dives deep -outside but also inside. That’s what I am open for. I curious and excited to see what will happen to me, spending six months in the Great Outdoors. I feel really privileged and want to thank my loved ones that I may make an extraordinary journey like this one.