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Dwelch - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2014

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Dan Welch
City: Durham
State: North Carolina
Begins: Apr 1, 2014
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Jan 30th, 2014

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 972
Journal Visits: 84,083
Guestbook Views: 6,040
Guestbook Entrys: 57

Gear list

Pacific Crest Trail Map

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The view from Forester Pass looking south

So what is the Pacific Crest Trail? and Why?

The Pacific Crest Trail or PCT is a 2,665 mile hiking trail that runs from the Mexican border at Campo, California to the Canadian border in British Columbia. It is a desginated national scenic trail. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. It offers some of the wildest backcountry terrain to be found in the lower 48 states. The trail crosses numerous passes many over 10,000 feet, the highest of which is Forester Pass at 13,120 (see pic). Overall the trail gains and loses almost 490,000 feet (92 miles) in elevation. If you're interested, there is a Google map of the trail map that you can access from the small box on the side of the screen.

About 400-600 hikers generally start a thru-hike each year (trying to complet the trail in one year.) The success rate for thru-hikers is generally about 40%. Hikers tend to start in late April or early May heading south to north so they can gt through the desert sections early and then get into the mountains in mid-summer. Hikers must find water at natural sources along the way, which can be up to 30 miles apart in some of the arid sections of the trail. Food is typically resupplied every 3-10 days at trail towns close to the trail.

It's fairly easy to describe what the PCT is. More difficult is decsribing why people want to complete it. I'm sure it's different for every hiker, but for me it combines several things that I love - a major challenge, an adventure, awesome scenery, freedom to travel on my own schedule... If you've never spent a lengthy time wandering up the trail, it's hard to explain. There is time to think about your place in the universe. What is important to you. Who is important to you. What you want to do most when you're back in the real world. It also makes you aware of how unimportant many things are that we stress about everyday. It's great for putting things in perspective.

There is also a great sense of camaraderie when your'e meeting people engaged in the same challenge. This won't be a lonely hike in the wilderness - there is a whole community of people moving north and meeting the same day-to-day challenges and enjoying the same daily successes. So I'm looking forward to the people interaction part of this adventure too. Hikers can be colorful characters.

Being in the wilderness has always been something I have loved - though it's sometomes hard to explain why. I just feel really lucky to be able to do this while I'm still young and healthy enough. CARPE DIEM!!

Entry 2 of 140
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Headin' North



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