PACIFIC CREST TRAIL - FAQs
WHAT IS THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL?
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a hike that takes you from Campo, near the border of Mexico, to Manning Provincial Park, in Canada. Total, it covers 2668.8 miles and follows the spine of the Sierra Nevada and Cascades mountain ranges.
SO YOU'RE HIKING NORTH?
Yes, I'll be starting from the Mexican border and heading north from there, which a large majority of other thru-hikers do. Some decide to start in Canada and hike south. Others decide to do the trail in sections.
HOW LONG DOES THE PCT TAKE?
The PCT typically takes about 4-5 months to complete. Each person's completion time is dependent on numerous factors: preference, personal fitness, and etc.
WHEN DO YOU START AND WHEN DO YOU FINISH?
As I'm heading north, the ideal time to start is mid-April to early May. The goal is to miss the hottest months as you cross through Southern California, but arrive in the Sierras late enough that much of the snow has melted. By the same merit, to complete the trail, one must finish before winter arrives in Washington.
That said, I begin hiking on May 6 and hope to finish the trail by early October.
WHAT DO YOU EAT? AND WHERE DO YOU GET THE FOOD?
For many, the diet is anything and everything that you can pack. For myself, this will included foods such as:
- Tortilla Wraps
- Beef Jerky
- Dried Fruit
- Packaged Salmon/Tuna
- Trail Mix and Nuts
- Granola Bars
- Instant Noodles
- Mac & Cheese
Of course, what everyone eats will depend on their personal diet preferences and many will elect to work towards a much more sophisticated diet than mine. As for resupplies, the trail takes hikers through or relatively close to towns every 75 - 125 miles on average. Here, one can either purchase food from local stores or have their friends/family ship food over.
WHAT ABOUT WATER?
The desert obviously provides complication to staying hydrated. But, I'll be grabbing water from various streams and water tanks along the way. As you enter the mountainous regions, water becomes less and less of a concern. Treatment for water includes a filter for any sizable particles and chlorine tablets to purify and harmful bacteria.
WHERE DO YOU POOP?
Outside, with Leave No Trace principles. Find a spot at least 200 feet from any water and a healthy distance away from any campsites or trails. Dig a spot at least 6 inches deep, do your business, and pack out the toilet paper.
WHERE DO YOU SHOWER?
In towns once I come in for resupply. But really, you just have to accept the fact that you're going to be a bit stinky.
ARE YOU HIKING THIS ALONE?
Absolutely, but the hiking community is awesome and I very much expect to make life-long friends while I'm on the trail.
WHAT ABOUT ANIMALS? AREN'T YOU SCARED OF BEARS?
I've had a few black bear encounters before, and they're actually rather docile creatures. Respect them, and they'll respect you. Be intelligent about your food, using a bear canister whenever necessary, and practice proper Leave No Trace principles. Worst case scenario, if a bear does decide to become aggressive or overly curious, group up with anyone else that may be around you and begin screaming. Intimidation is the goal here. Whatever the bear's motives are, you need to convince said bear that those motives are not worth dealing with you, despite whatever the truth may be.
HOW MANY MILES ARE YOU TRYING TO HIKE A DAY?
I want to average about 20 miles a day. This will obviously depend on my own physical fitness, the trail conditions in that particular area, and whether I am injury free. But really, I'm doing this for the smiles, not the miles. I'll take my time and enjoy the experience.
WHAT ARE YOU PACKING?
The above photo is my entire pack, minus food and water. It comes in at around 22.6 pounds, of which about 10 pounds are camera gear. My shoulders, hip, and legs are not huge fans of my photography, needless to say. Below is a full list:
F-Stop Sukha 70L Backpack
Arcteryx Cerium LT Hoody
TNF Venture Jacket
Marmot Precip Safari Hat
TNF Bones Beanie
Adidas Techfit Compressions Shorts x2
Wolaco Fulton Full Running Tights
Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Crew
Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew
REI Running Shorts
Wigwam Ultimax Trail Socks x2
Patagonia Quandry Pants
Brooks Mazama Trail Runners
Thermarest Neo-Air Xtherm Sleeping Pad
Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 20 Sleeping Bag
Sea-to-Summit Aeros Pillow
Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack
Zpacks Solplex Tent w/ Poles & Stakes
Platypus 3L Water Bladder
Sawyer Mini Water Filter
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 17-40mm f/4 Lens
F-Stop Small ICU
RRS Tripod TQC-14 Tripod
RRS BH-30 Ballhead
RRS L-Plate Bracket
Lowepro S&F Filter Pouch 100
Anker PowerPro SolarLite
Kershaw Knife – gifted by my friend Matthew
Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp
The Deuce – Poop Shovel
Moleskine Pocket Notebook
First Aid Kit
Toothpaste, Toothbrush, and Floss