’17 PCT Thru-Hike

Brien at the high point of the PCT in ’15

Where to begin when it comes to the Pacific Crest Trail. I suppose for anyone who is reading this and doesn’t really know, I’ll just start with the stats. The PCT is an ultra-long distance trail in the US, it runs from the California/Mexico boarder to the Washington/Canada boarder. A grand total of 2,650 miles! The average hike takes around 5 months to complete, utilizing towns and resorts near the trail to resupply food and occasionally gear. Every year many people attempt it, it appears that for my 2017 hike over 2,000 individuals are going to attempt to hike the entire thing!

There are many reasons that people choose to hike the PCT, escaping, self discovery, or pure love for the outdoors are just a few of the common answers to this question. For me this year… I think I’m still figuring that part out. Maybe that’s why I’m hiking the PCT, to figure out why I’m supposed to be hiking it. This last year has been wonderful, but also in many way difficult. I found myself leaving one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had and uprooting to move to Guatemala. This has been an incredible experience, however I miss backpacking, I miss the mountains, and I found myself needing a break. The idea came to me as I saw many of my friends from my 2015 PCT hike talking about their plans for this summer, undertaking the Continental Divide Trail, the Appalachian Trail, or bicycling across Canada. Instead of sitting around dreaming of adventures I would like to be a part of I decided to do something about it. Honestly, I know I could hike the CDT but living in Guatemala until just a few days before I would start really intimidates me. I feel as though I will be more comfortable hiking something more familiar.

Guiding clients on the south side of Acatenango, with Feugo in the background

Guatemala is wonderful, but I work as a Volcano Guide here and really it is wonderful! I can’t even express how lucky I feel to get paid to climb one of the most stunning formations in Central America several times a week, but I rarely get a change of scenery. I am very excited for the sprawling desert, and snowy Sierra’s and vast forests.

Logistics are a challenge in any thru-hike. However, living in Guatemala where there is no postal service, like, at all, and trying to gather the gear I’d like to upgrade, and thinking about food logistics, all while knowing that I only have 4 days at my family house before I start the trail, adds a whole new level of careful planning and organization. I have always been a bot of a gear-nut and am using this opportunity to upgrade a few select pieces of gear that I have already shipping and will soon begin organizing and shipping food to my Mom’s house. Lists, spreadsheets, and an ever-growing list of random thoughts on my phone have truly been doing wonders at keeping me sane. At just over 9 weeks before I start hiking it’s a very strange mess of emotions of feeling like the time will never pass and fretting that I’ll never have enough time to be prepared. Any thru-hiker will tell you that this is completely normal though.

I will continue to make updates on preparations and of course this summer will be almost nothing but trail posts!

See you on the trail!