The Pacific Crest Trail stretches 2658 miles from the Mexican
border at Campo, California to the Canadian border at
Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia. Unlike its
more famous eastern cousin, the Appalachian Trail (AT),
the PCT is a wilderness trail for much of the way. Population
centers are few and far between and the thruhiker has
a narrow window in which to complete the trail before
winter buries it in snow. The most famous and, arguably,
the most spectacular section of the trail is the John
Muir Trail which stretches from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney
in the California High Sierra.
The PCT was officially dedicated in 1993 following the
1968 National Trail System Act but has been "thruhiked"
since the 1970's. This year at least 200 people will attempt
to hike the entire trail, myself included. Over 1/2 will
fail to make it.
I first learned of the PCT in 1972 after reading "The
High Adventures of Eric Ryback," which chronicled
the first traversal of what would later become a completed
trail. There is much controversy over whether or not Mr.
Ryback actually completed the trail but nevertheless his
book provided a spark to many would-be PCT hikers, including
me. A more modern book, The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's
Handbook, is written by multi-thruhiker, ultralight
proponent, and somewhat controversial Ray Jardin. His
book is the starting point for most PCT thruhikers. I
tried to follow much of his advice for my PCT thruhike
attempt, especially with regard to lightweight equipment.
For much more information about the PCT, I highly recommend
contacting the Pacific
Crest Trail Association.