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Hiking the 2,650-Mile Pacific Crest Trail


Stashed in: Outdoors, Awesome, California, Oregon!, National Parks, Hiking, Freakonomics

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Last week, hundreds of hikers gathered in Campo, a tiny town resting on the border of California and Mexico, and set off northbound to tackle one of the longest, toughest trails in America.

Stretching 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) meanders through harsh desert terrain, roller coasters up and down 13,000-foot Sierra peaks, and winds its way through the vast, pristine wildernesses of Oregon and Washington. In total, it crosses 25 national forests and 7 national parks, all of which greatly vary in temperature, terrain, and climate.

For those seeking to “through-hike” the trail -- that is, hike it from end-to-end in a single trip -- the journey will take 135 to 150 days to complete. Along the way, a hiker will wear through 4 or 5 pairs of shoes, consume some 600,000 calories (mostly in the form of energy bars and freeze-dried foods), and take 6 million steps. It’s not an undertaking for the weak-willed: less than 50% who set out to reach Canada make it there -- and those who do must maintain a 20-25 mile per day pace to beat the early snowfall in Northern Washington.

Despite these challenges, the PCT offers something that civilization often lacks: solitude, time for inner reflection, a chance to regenerate one’s soul. 

Hiking the 2 650 Mile Pacific Crest Trail

Hiking the 2 650 Mile Pacific Crest Trail

Sherpa:   (195 oz)

Ha. Seriously how amazingly low is that weight?

chart Hikers Complete  Pacific Crest Trail by year

Wow! I'd love to see the graph of Jaws release and aversion to oceanic swimming against this graph! 

Probably looks like you'd think it would look. 

I'd like to spend a month hiking in Rainier National Park, because berries.  August is perfect.  Maybe next year ....

You'd hike because of berries?!

Berries are the fuel I would not have to carry.

Yeah, I was wondering about that -- in the backpack contents above (195 oz) there is no food???

It is controversial, but there are thru-hikers who are "fully supported" meaning they carry NOTHING but a sack lunch and people wait for them with supplies every night.

That's really cool, actually. Is this kind of hike on your bucket list?

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