On March 22nd, 2018 we started to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in The United States. PCT is one of the three National Scenic Trails in the United states – it covers 4279 km (or 2652 miles) from the Mexican border all the way up to the Canadian border. When hiking the trail from South to North (like we did), one first has to go through about 1130km of desert, continue up and over the Sierra Nevada mountain range (traversing snow and climbing over high mountain passes) and journey on to the Cascades mountain range in Oregon and Washington. For an average hiker this takes about 5 to 6 months.
As most of our adventures we kind of stumbled upon this one just as randomly some time back in 2016. After a little bit of research it looked like the PCT was this awesome life changing experience, adventure of a lifetime. And when else if not now? It definitely will not get any easier to hike 4300 km when you are 60 years old. So the decision that we had to do this hike came pretty easy.
However, our small problem was that we had already established our career paths working as engineers in Denmark. That made the decision a bit tougher: to quit all that and be jobless and homeless? But deep down we knew that we wanted a career change towards the outdoor industry – so we followed our hearts.
Step by step we saved up money for this hike, collected and tested the necessary gear and planned our re-supply (hikers often switch gear when getting from the desert to the Sierras and also send food or gear ahead on the trail). Luckily the couple of people that we knew from the US agreed to help us with that.
We decided to send as few boxes to ourselves as possible, the one and only certain one being our winter gear box at Kennedy Meadows South. We wanted to not have to worry about making it to town in time before the post office closes and even though some resupply villages have a meager selection (especially for vegans) we decided we’d always make due. And we did; besides – if you prepack your food prior to the trail you don’t take into account the fact that you’ll be sick of peanut butter and tortillas by week three. So we just sort of winged it and only ended up sending 5 resupply boxes for ourselves up the trail.
It took us about three months to do California and about a month each for Oregon and Washington. But by this time we were already feeling very strong so 28-mile-days were not really an issue. We did push ourselves quite a lot in Northern California and Oregon as we weren’t sure how long it’d take but once we got close to the finish we took it really easy, even doing under-20-mile days.
We planned to be on the Canadian border latest by mid-September but actually ended up finishing on August 29. Due to a fire closure at the northern terminus we ended up hiking the Ross Lake detour and thus reached a different monument – but it was still the border. Perhaps we’ll return some day and hike the last stretch of PCT, too.
On our way we did some rock climbing in Bishop and also ascended Mt Whitney. In total our journey took 160 days, including a lot of zero days. We wrote a daily diary, which can be found on the blog of this website.
Here’s some statistics:
About 2652 miles walked
6 Fire closures
20 Zero days
Countless new friends made