The goal of the hike was to have fun, experience some beauty, and ultimately see what my body could do.
The current unsupported record for the PCT is set by Heather "Anish" Anderson at 60days 17hours 12mins
The current supported record for the PCT is set by Joe McConaughy at 53days6hours37mins
I will be traveling as an unsupported hiker, which means:
Walk into and out of resupply towns to purchase or pick up prepacked and mailed supplies.
Hike as a backpacker, carrying all food and equipment between resupply towns.
Follow the official PCT route, including official closure detours
Do not have anyone follow, or provide support in a prearranged manner.
Do not get into a vehicle for any reason during the attempt.
Honestly and thoroughly document the attempt.
Practice Leave-No-Trace ethics.
The unsupported record miles per day (MPD) is ~43.9mpd and supported ~49.9mpd
Honestly, I want the unsupported record sure, but what I wanted more than anything is to see what I was capable of, give it my best and see what it is.
I was thinking and still think, that unsupported I could do 50mpd with everything going right and me absolutely laying it out there.
So here we go...
Mile 0 – Mile 52.7
Last year when I set off for the Appalachian Trail (AT) everything was new, backpacking, hiking, long trails, new. There was a nervousness and naivety that surrounded me. Well I got hiking and that quickly went away and I was comfortable. This year, there was build up, anticipation …planning. Yes, I spent many hours at the computer, first just getting all of my resupply boxes dialed and shipped. But then it was time spent looking for anything that could help me carry less food/water, places to stay, outfitter stores in case equipment broke, anything. I was scrolling through the PCT maps, google maps and even mapping out routes into town on mapmyride to find the shortest distance. I spent so much time looking at maps, that eventually on the trail I could imagine those topo lines as I ventured down this section or that. A LOT of time. I was prepared. Ready, no. You are never ready. But I was comfortable and confident in the planning I did. So off I flew to San Diego, where I was picked up by trail angel Robert Riess. I spent the night at his house along with the other five hikers he had picked up and would be dropping of at the trail in the morning. See that is the thing about long trails, there is a magic, a special power. It transforms people, it makes them better in some way. So countless times, you will encounter complete strangers that are willing to bend over backwards for you, a dirty, smelly hiker that they just met. In this case, I was fairly clean, I had my usual stink and the ride’s were prearranged. But none the less, we will see instances of magic later in our story.
At the house I met two English brothers who were on holiday who plan to hike the entirety of the trail averaging about 30 miles per day (pretty fast) One just finished college and the other between years. We decided to walk together to get lunch/groceries/dinner (our last supper) As we talked about our trip plans, we made way to talking about me hiking the AT last year and ski mountaineering all winter long and now hiking the PCT. One of them turned to me and asked, “so are you a professional athlete?” I chuckled at the question. “No” I said, “Though I would like to be” “I am just a ski bum, so like a pro athlete, just no money!” I grabbed a bunch of veggies, pasta salad and juice, the stuff I would be missing out on the trail and we headed back.
Now we are sitting around waiting to go to sleep, waiting to be driven to the trail. Can’t we just be hiking already. Suddenly, I realize, geez I am in sunny San Diego about to start hiking the PCT. It really hadn’t dawned on me until that moment. Why just yesterday, I was looking out my window in Alta at a fresh 16” of snow that had just fallen and all I could think about was skiing. It is okay though, it is mid May and it will turn to Jank before an hour passes. But still, hiking in the desert? So I am realizing this and starting to get “nervous” probably not the correct work, but my body started vibrating with energy. I AM READY, I think. So I go to sleep.
Smiley Bunch for 530 in the morning and 2,650 miles to go
|The PCT definitely has the views over the AT|
|Pacific Crest Trail Crest|
Love when you can see em, them ridges....so sexy!