On The Trail
Updated March 17, 2020
How quickly things can change. I’ve cancelled my big hike. Now is not the time for me to be away.
There will be other hikes.
Stay well everyone.
I write and talk a lot about food – growing it, preserving it, sharing it and of course eating it! I don’t often share much about other activities in my life – like my passion for being active outdoors. Hiking and kayaking are my favorite outdoor activities followed by cross country skiing in the winter. Whenever I get the chance – I hop on a trail and go for a walk.
This spring, I have the opportunity to jump on the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT is a long-distance trail along the highest portion of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges, which lie 100 to 150 miles east of the U.S. Pacific coast. The trail is about 2,650 miles or 4,250 km long and runs from the Mexican to Canadian border with a total elevation change of 420,880 ft or 128,284 m. It is the trail that Cheryl Strayed took, her journey was portrayed by Reese Witherspoon in the movie WILD.
It takes the average Thru Hiker (those that complete the full 2650 miles) about 5-6 months to complete the trail. In 2019, 7,888 permits were issued, just over 900 completed the trek.
Other hikers, like me that do a portion of the trail are called Section Hikers. My goal is to go from the South Terminus at the Mexican border to Auga Dulce about 450 miles or 725 km north in 4 1/2 weeks at around 15 miles/day.
This part of the trail is often referred to as the desert section. It’s hot, with very few trees and very few natural water sources. The recommendation is to carry 1 litre of water for every 4-5 miles. With several 30 mile stretches where there are no water sources, that means I’ll need to carry 6-7.5 litres of water which is equivalent to 6 to 7.5 kg or 13-17 pounds. Ugh!
And so we’re back to talking about food! I’ve started dehydrating various foods that I know I’ll need but I haven’t prepared my meal plan for the trip yet. That’ll happen in the next couple of weeks. I’m excited to tackle this challenge to make sure I have good nutrition to fuel long days of hiking.