[pct-l] So, now that you've seen Wild...

isabella at bendnet.com isabella at bendnet.com
Wed Jan 28 19:56:39 CST 2015

Good info.  Thanks!
(better than all the random conversations that don't apply to questions/info
about the PCT)

-----Original Message-----
From: Pct-L [mailto:pct-l-bounces at backcountry.net] On Behalf Of Douglas Tow
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 5:43 PM
To: pct-l at backcountry.net
Subject: [pct-l] So, now that you've seen Wild...

...let's think about reality vs. not-so-much.


1.  The PCT is a 2,650 mile path, only some of which will be soft forest
duff underfoot in sunlight filtered through fragrant trees.  There's a lot
of dust, rock, rain, raw heat, and uphill stretches that seem to never end.
If you don't know what a false top is, you will learn.  You will come to
embrace all of it, with occasional cursing.

2.  Most hikers today don't wear heavy boots.  Cross trainers and trail
runners are most commonly seen.  You could need a new pair 5, 6 or more
times going up the trail.

3.  You'll get a trail name, which you can reject or not use as you choose.
Let others choose or suggest it - more fun that way.

4.  Though Cheryl Strayed hiked with a 70-pound pack at first, there's no
need for that today, with all of the lightweight equipment available.  Much
good, lightweight equipment comes from suppliers you have never heard of, so
start your research.  Talk to other hikers, read journals of past years'
hikers.  Your pack weight, excepting food and water, will probably come in
between 12 and 20 pounds.

5.  Foot problems - you, and everyone else at one time or another.  If
blisters took all of its sufferers off the trail, virtually no one would
ever finish.  Change socks, use shoes that don't threaten to overheat or
beat your toes to death.  Your feet will also adapt to the mild insults you
are doling out, and it should work out.


1.  Danger - I felt far safer on the trail than anywhere else in the world.
I didn't hear different from anyone I have met.  Hike with someone else if
this is the big issue for you.  Use your bear canister when it's required.

2.  Getting lost - I only got lost when I got to a trailhead parking lot,
and couldn't find the trail on the other side for a while.  Get your maps
and compass, learn how they work, and consider a GPS with the trail loaded
on it.

3.  Never seeing another person - Did you start between April 15 and May 15?
If you haven't seen another person in a while, and you're on the trail, just
set up camp for a half day, and say hello to bunches of folks who pass on

4.  I'll never get there at this pace - Yes, you might start slow (5-8 miles
a day), but just keep going, and see how quickly you laugh off 30 mile days.

5.  I'll never get a day's rest - The average thru hiker takes more than 20
zero (no miles) days, whether in a town, a quick trip to attend a wedding,
or on trail.

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