Yeah that’s how the conversation goes here in Europe. I guess 95% of the people here never heard of any mysterious Pacific Crest Trail. It could as well be non-existent. But then again 95% of the non-europeans probably never heard of the Wicklow Way, the E1, the Rheinsteig, the Pieterpad and many more.
So this one goes out to my European readers, friends and family… It’s time to learn about the Pacific Crest Trail!
“The Pacific WHAT Thing?”
“Exactly!!!That mysterious “Pacific What Thing” is actually called “The Pacific Crest Trail!” That’s right! The “thing” is a “trail”, a pathway you could call it (for hikers and equestrians), and that trail winds its way from Mexico to Canada or the other way ’round, through 3 North-American states: California, Oregon and Washington. All three states are situated on the American West Coast. But the trail doesn’t follow the coast line. NOOO it’s NOT the Pacific COAST Trail! It’s the Pacific CREST Trail, following the crest or range of elevation which is (in average) about 100 to 150miles east of the pacific coast. So: Not coast but crest!!! Don’t forget!
Now…when someone walks from Mexico to Canada, that person is going NOrthBOund, often shortened to NOBO. When someone walks from Canada to Mexico, that person is going SOuthBOund, also shortened to SOBO.
I decided to go Nobo (like most hikers do), starting at the Mexican border in Campo and making my way up through the desert in Southern California, the Sierra Nevada (where I hiked the John Muir Trail in 2013), Northern California, Oregon and Washington. All the way to Canada. Depending on whether I get an entry permit for Canada or not I’m gonna continue hiking into Canada till Manning Park.
So here’s an overview map (check the PCTA page for more maps!)
I know, on this map it looks like: “Meh I can do that (you actually can baby!!!), doesn’t seem too far.” But just imagine how far 4265km (2650miles) could take you.
Imagine you’re in Brussels (ya if you’d like you can be standing right next to our famous Manneke Pis; eating the best belgian fries with loads of mayo)… Walking 4265km starting in Brussels you’d end up in Syria, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Iran, Yekaterinburg-Russia, somewhere in the middle of the Barents Sea close to Spitzbergen, Southern Marocco! It’s frikkin crazy where 4265km could take you. Holy shit…. it could take me to Iran, to Russia, to Africa??? That’s INSAAANE. I have absolutely no idea what I’m getting myself into. Well done girl well done!
Alright… back to the PCT. The PCT is a national scenic trail in America, and together with the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) and the AT (Appalachian Trail) it forms the Triple Crown of long distance hiking. O I wish we had a crown like that in Europe. Aren’t we all about kings and queens here anyway? Well at least in Belgium we are… (not that I care…)
Soooo I will start in Campo at the border monument. Right behind that border momument is the wall between Mexico and the US. Ya we didn’t make good experiences with walls here in Europe and I will always question walls… no matter where on this planet! But that ain’t the topic here and I’ve had enough discussions concerning political shit so let’s just keep that for another time.
So I start at the momument, and then……
I hike to Canada….
… at least that’s the plan. But we all know what happens when I make plans, so let’s forget about it. Forget the plan. I’m just gonna hike. Eh that’s a plan too. Right.
REGIONS / SECTIONS OF THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
I guess I could tell you about the different sections of the PCT, yeah, that might give you a good idea of what is lying ahead:
* Southern California: Campo to Walker Pass
This section is know to be hot and dry. Laguna Mountains, Anza Borrega Desert, San Jacinto Mountains, San Bernardino and San Gabriel ranges, Mojave Desert, crossing the San Andreas Fault (yeah the one we learned about in geography classes),…
Biggest challenges in this section: Heat and little water.
Cute wildlife to be encountered: Rattle snakes, spiders and other lovely creatures (I hope to see a scorpion, but not on my sleeping bag pleaaaassse!)
*Central California: Walker Pass to Donner Summit/Highway 80
I’m very much looking forward to this section as it is the home of my beloved Sierra Nevada. Kennedy Meadows (south) is considered the start of the PCT through the Sierra. And boy can’t I wait to get there! Though I’m not looking forward to climbing Silver Pass NoBo, I feel a very very deep longing to be back in the Range of Light!
In central California the PCT goes through Sequoia and Kings National Park (I’m definitely up for another summit of Mount Whitney), several wilderness areas and Yosemite National Park. O baby YESSSS!!!!!
Biggest challenges in this section: Depends on the snow pack really. Apart from that: Not being heartbroken by memories.
Cute wildlife to be encountered: Black bears, mountain lions (ya with me you never know), tons of deer!
*Northern California: Donner Summit/Highway 80 to near Siskiyou Summit/Interstate 5
The PCT in Northern California will take me over volcanic land while the Sierra Nevada turns into the southern Cascade Range. Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta will sweeten the view, whereafter the PCT takes a turn to the west and to lower elevations. In this section the PCT connects the more inland mountain range with the coastal range. In fact they seem to become one in the Trinity Alps and the Marble Mountain Wilderness.
Biggest challenges in this section: Mosquitoes (probably in the Sierra too)… I haaaate mosquitoes.
Cute Wildlife to be encountered: Same as in central California.
*Oregon: Near Siskiyou Summit/Interstate 5 to Bridge of the Gods/Columbia River
In the state of Oregon the PCT passes through the most wonderful volcanic landscapes. Crater Lake, the Three Sisters, Mount Hood. What more could one ask for?
Biggest challenges in this section: Still mosquitoes? I don’t know. I’ll deal with it when I get there.
Cute wildlife: Same as in central California plus elk :cP
*Washington: Bridge of the Gods/Columbia River to Manning Park-Canada
Mount Adams, Goat Rocks Wilderness, the frikkin awesome North Cascades and yes the Stehekin bakery.
Biggest challenges in this section: The weather? Not overeating on cake in Stehekin?
Cute wildlife: I don’t even wanna know!!!! Don’t you dare to tell me anything about grizzly bears!!!
Soooooooooooo how am I gonna do that? Hiking the “Pacific WHAT?! Trail”?
Yeah let’s talk about logistics.
The thing is: This ain’t the Camino! Nope! No alberques, no huts, no no no.
This thing is everwinding dirt trail, tarp, wilderness, hiker trash, cold de/rehydrated food, bear tracks, 28km a day… twenty fucking eight kilometers a day in average! Twenty fucking eight kilometers of things that I love: Dirt, nature, wilderness, testing my limits, sun, thunderstorms, wildlife, sleeping on the ground (not that I have a bed in my cabin hahaha), craving for food, getting to my core, to what life is all about!
So where do I get my food while hiking the Pacific CREST trail?
My resupply strategy will mainly consist of “buy as I go”. Which means I’m gonna buy food along the way. Thing is: The PCT isn’t an urban trail, it goes through wilderness areas and national parks. That’s why “buying as you go” means “hiking to a trailhead and hitchhiking to town”. So I’m gonna get a lot of hitchhike practice… The men who are hiking with me are lucky, yes they are… ‘Cause I’m gonna make a hitch into town easier for them (yeah boys, you can buy me a burger for that in town then!), looking all dirty and pretty!
Still there are some stretches where there just are no towns to hitch to with a store large enough to resupply. That is why the “buy as I go” will be supplemented with sending myself “resupply-boxes”. In certain places I will prepare resupply boxes and send these to places further up the trail, places where there might be a postoffice or something else but no store.
People mostly freak out about the logistics of long distance hiking. But I don’t worry too much. I’m just gonna buy as I go and send an occasional box. Done.
Allrightyyyy? Got any more questions? Still don’t know enough about the wonderful PCT? Really… check the PCTA website, plus there are tons and tons of blogs on the internet!
O by the way, I’m raising money for the PCTAssociation. If you have checked their website (which you really should have by now!!!), you can see that they do an enormous amount of work to preserve and protect the PCT, the land and wildlife around it, their volunteers maintain the trail and make sure that we and future generations will be able to make this important wilderness experience. Please support me and the PCTA by going to my razoo fundraising page and donating a little money! If you donate $25 or up you will receive membership benefits from the PCTA and… all the people donating till the end of February… your name will be put in a big jar and an innocent hand will pick three names. These 3 people will win a beanie from my own little label “Chilli Camel”. So come on folks, if you like my blog, if you like following allong, help me on this one. I wanna raise $2000 minimum to give to the PCTA!!!! I can’t do it alone! Be a part of it!
|Win one of these! All handmade and hand dyed by me. 100% alpacawool from the alpacafarm I used to live on!|
|Or one of these ;c)|
Please click on donate to support me and the PCTA!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!