Start: US/Mexico Border
Finish: Manning Park B.C. Canada
Total Length: 2,663 miles
Highest point:(Forester Pass) 13,153ft
Lowest point:(Oregon/Washington Border)143 ft
Total elv. gain: 314,711ft
People who attempt to thru-hike the PCT yearly: 700-800
Percent of people who finish: 60%+-
Modes of transportation: horseback or foot
Number permits needed: 1
The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2,650 mile contiguous path that runs from Mexico to Canada over the ridge of the Sierras. About 750 people attempt to thru-hike the trail yearly, most starting at the southern terminus in the month of April.
The trail starts in the desert mountains of Southern California where temperatures can range from a chilly 30 degrees at night to a scorching 100 degrees during the day. The desert will likely prove to be the biggest challenge for me because my skin does not regulate temperature well and burns easily. I will have to be adaptable and do what ever I can to stay safe and get in miles. This means I will probably be doing a large portion of the desert hike at night when temperatures are much more bearable. I will go into detail on night-hiking on my blog.
After the 700 mile dessert stretch, the trail climbs high into the Sierra's of Central California where the most revered part of the trail cuts through the gorgeous mountain landscape; lakes, streams, day-hikers and, bears are abundant.
Northern California makes way to more mountains as the Sierra's butt up against the Southern Cascade Range and eventually dive down into Oregon.
The Oregon section of the trail is relatively flat and considered the easiest and most boring section among thru-hikers.
Washington seems to be the wild card of the trail as far as weather and terrain go. If I make it to Washington in late July the weather should be fairly stable allowing me to hike without being blocked or slowed by snowfall or heavy rain. Towards the end of the summer season Washington can experience heavy snow as early as August causing the PCT to be to dangerous to finish.
Whatever I think I know about the trail right now may be right but it is far from actually experiencing the trail day to day. It is easy to sit at home and say: "yeah i'll do 30 miles a day" or "night-hiking won't scare the shit out of me" or "when I make it to Washington..."
I am confident in my abilities but not arrogant enough to say that I am not nervous, and if I am not properly humbled by this trail already I certainly will be before it's over.
Photos by Half Mile: http://www.pctmap.net/maps/