Hello from sunny Los Angeles, California!
It’s taken four years, plenty of false starts and a whole lot of footsteps, but I’m finally just days away from starting my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.
For the uninitiated, the PCT is a 2,450-mile (4,265km) long hiking trail that stretches all the way from the US border with Mexico in Campo, California, to Canada. It takes the average hiker about five months to complete.
The trail starts in the southern California desert, then climbs into the Sierra Nevada mountain range before entering the Cascade range in Oregon and Washington.
The idea of walking the PCT is what got me into hiking four years ago, and it’s been my goal since I took my first clumsy steps on Western Australia’s Cape to Cape track way back then. I had planned to hike the PCT the very next year but poor fitness, and life, got in the way.
Since then I’ve lost a ton of weight, hugely improved my fitness and replaced almost every bit of hiking gear I own. I also used the intervening time to scrounge every Qantas point I could muster so I could fly from Perth to Chicago in first class, which I THOROUGHLY recommend.
The PCT will be by far the longest hike I’ve ever done, but my experience completing the Bibbulmun Track makes me confident I can do it.
I’ve been celebrating my last few weeks of civilisation by exploring Chicago, New Orleans and LA with the help of local family and friends, but now I’m ready to leave it all behind and start walking.
On Monday night I’ll stay in San Diego with Frodo and Scout, a pair of legendary trail angels (volunteers who help hikers). On Tuesday morning, they’ll drive me and a heap of other would-be thru-hikers out to the trail’s southern terminus in the desert east of San Diego.
From there, I’ll begin the long walk to Canada.