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Who are we?
A married couple in our early 50's who have been hiking and backpacking together for over 30 years. We have 2 adult children. Our son Bob also enjoys backpacking and he has agreed to serve as our resupply person, packing and sending out the boxes and will probably meet us a couple of times on the trail in Oregon. He will also be taking care of the house while we are away. Our daughter Crystal is married to a wonderful young Marine who is stationed in California. All of our parents are supportive of our trip, worried I'm sure, but excited for us.
Why we are doing this?
It's difficult to explain why people choose to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Why would someone choose to spend around 180 days hiking 15 to 25 miles per day, carrying everything you need on your back, sleeping on the ground, worrying about where you will next find water, climbing up and down steep passes, crossing snowfields, fording rivers, and avoiding bears, blisters, rattlesnakes, heatstroke, scorpions and dehydration? Yep, that's difficult to explain, but here goes. Since we started hiking together we have done countless backpack trips but, looking back, we realize that the trips that really stand out in our memory are the multi-day trips we have done. We both enjoy the simplicity that comes with spending several days out in the wilderness. We feel better and have more energy when we spend the day walking through God's beautiful creation. Watching the scenery slowly change as you hike along a trail, being out in and really experiencing the weather, seeing the wildflowers and smelling the forests, those are things you just don't get in town or traveling by car. Sleeping under a billion stars in the blackest sky you can imagine, climbing a peak and seeing FOREVER, watching a huge mountain dissolve away as a storm blows in. Just some of the things that make us want to be out there.
Why now and How?
We have occasionally walked on short sections of the PCT in Oregon and the idea began to take hold that maybe we should think about doing the entire trail. Julie really got bit by that bug several years ago and we have been learning about the PCT and long distance hikes for the past couple of years. Like everyone, we're not getting any younger. We don't move as fast or as easily as we did even 10 years ago. We decided that waiting another 15 years to retirement would probably mean that we don't do this at all. We couldn't stand the thought of looking back in 15 years wishing we had done this when we were physically able. So, we decided to do it now. We looked at what the obstacles were (pretty much the usual: jobs, mortgage, bills) and figured out a way. We decided that Julie could put her business (home daycare) on hold for 6 months. We would take some money out of the IRA (while there is still some left). When Ron's employer said "I can work with that" then we knew the trip was on. Doug, you're the best!
Well, that got kind of wordy....
Look for future entries on gear, food, planning and prep. We've got about 90 days before we start our little jaunt and only about 2 million things left to do..
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