I’m Hiking The PCT – Popeye

If you ask many of the young Appalachian Trail thru hikers what is next for them, quite a few will immediately answer “The PCT!” While on the Appalachian Trail, another long distance trail was never really on my mind. I was focused on the task at hand and didn’t have energy to consider undertaking another huge challenge. But now that I have been back in civilization for almost 3 months, the PCT has caught my attention and it’s just about all I can think of!

So what is the PCT? The Pacific Crest Trail starts near the border of Mexico, in Campo, California. It travels 2,650 miles through California, Oregon, and Washington and ends in Canada. There are around 300 people each year who attempt to thru hike, and the average hike takes around 5 months. The first 700 miles of the trail are through the Southern California desert. Next comes the Sierras, with a lot of high altitude hiking- the highest point on the trail is 13,153 ft. Hikers have to be careful not to reach the Sierras too early because if there is still too much snow on the ground the trail can become dangerous. After the Sierras there are still 750 miles of trail through Northern California. The trail passes through Oregon for 430 miles and then hits Washington for the final 500 miles, with hikers hurrying to beat the cold weather.

andyporter_-rockpass_pctNow you’re probably wondering why anyone in the right mind would want to subject themselves to this. And a year and a half ago, I wouldn’t have understood it either. But I absolutely love life on the trail. This hike would be such a different challenge for me and I can only imagine the things it will teach me and how I will grow as a person over those 5 months. On the Appalachian Trail I had the constant and unfailing support of my parents. This hike would be something that I take on alone. It makes me incredibly nervous and excited all at the same time. But I think everyone should do things in life that scare them. Living a safe life and not taking any chances will only leave you with regrets and reminiscing about the things you wish you had done when you had the chance.

This hike would make me a much more independent person and really show me what I am capable of. I am confident in my ability to hike this trail and I am going into this with a much different mindset than I went into the AT with. This time last year, I had not backpacked before and never set foot on the trail. This year, I am a thru hiker and I know I have the ability to accomplish what I set my mind to. I really admired the people who hiked alone because I thought of all the chores and tasks I was able to share with my hiking partners and solo hikers don’t have that luxury. Hiking alone would be a new challenge but it would be such a different experience and I think it would allow me to grow closer to my fellow hikers and learn more about myself. I crave that solitude that you only find in the mountains. I start graduate school soon and I think the right time for me to do this hike is before I get too far into my career and are more settled down.

That’s where you guys come in. I am working hard to make this hike a reality but I need help to make it happen! It’s a big goal but with the help of Hike By Faith, we are trying to raise enough money for a PCT thru hike. Through the research I’ve done, I estimate I will need around $7,000. This includes some new gear I will need, along with airplane tickets, food, and stays in town. I will be hiking as frugally as possible but I definitely don’t want to get ¾ of the way down the trail and have to leave because of financial reasons. Because of this I may have overestimated a bit but any money that I raise that is left over from the hike will be donated and I would like to be able to donate as much as possible! If you’d like to help me achieve this dream consider making a donation! Every little bit will help me reach my goal, just like every step will get me from Mexico to Canada. I will be continuing to blog and document my trip for Hike By Faith so everyone who has been a part of this will get to follow along.

Support by donating a half a penny per mile, that’s $12.00 – Project PCT

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