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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: May 9, 2009
Entry Visits: 6,389
Journal Visits: 134,651
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Guestbook Entrys: 183
Welcome friends, family and fellow hiking enthusiasts to my Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Journal. For all of you unfamiliar with what I am attempting, let me explain. For some time I have had this urge to do something different and on a trip up Mt Baden Powell in 2007 I met a thru hiker who spent some time explaining what the PCT is all about. From then on, I sort of got this bug in my head to go give it a try. So here we are.
By way of introduction, my name is Peter Shaw and I live with my wife in Southern California. Hailing from England originally, we have enjoyed the weather and other comforts here for nearly thirty years. I have had a fantastic career in the US aerospace industry with a great company and with great people. That’s why deciding to retire and leave all that behind me has been so hard and traumatic these last few months. What would I do in retirement to keep me busy? I am pretty handy around the house and maintain everything myself. The list of projects is like the proverbial biblical wine – no matter how many I check off, the list naturally fills itself with more. But I have major doubts that would be enough to keep me engaged. I love to ski, mountain bike and hike so those are relief valves, but I never thought they could be full time activities until I discovered the PCT.So I made the big decision recently and will be retiring at the end of June, but with lots of vacation stored up, I will be able to leave on May 8th in time to start my hike on May 9th - nothing like diving straight into the deep end.
For newbies unfamiliar with the PCT, it starts at the Mexican border and runs up the western US mountain ranges - San Bernadino's, San Gabriel's, Sierra Nevada's and Cascades mostly - to the Canadian border. It is affectionately described as 18 inches wide and 2650 miles long and is estimated to take about 5.3 million steps to get from one end to the other. Approximate time for me is going to be about 4+ months carrying everything needed to survive on my back. I'll discuss gear and stuff in a later entry. I don't have a trail name yet, although I am sure one will be bestowed by my fellow thru hikers I expect to meet on the trail. Every time I do anything extreme like hiking across the Grand Canyon in a day in 109 deg F heat, my wife is always rolling her eyes and saying "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" after the 1936 Noel Coward song "Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out in the Midday Sun" Hence the name of my journal.
I plan on replacing my company Blackberry for an equivalent smart phone and use that to compose reports every day and post them to this site each time I get into a good coverage area. Warning to you all – expect them to come in bunches as much of the trail is outside of cell coverage. I will be experimenting with the next few entries – hopefully I will have the process well oiled by the time I leave. If any of you want to send me messages you can use the guest-book. I will look forward to hearing from you all. I will post at least one photo per day assuming I find something interesting enough - probably shouldn't be a problem once I am on the trail. Prior to the trip I'll just experiment with existing pictures. First are my favorites from Mt Whitney in 2007.
Mad Dogs & Englishmen
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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