By the time you read this we will have reached mile 1325 – the halfway point on our Pacific Crest trail adventure – a huge achievement and a time to reflect on what has passed and what is yet to come.
We’re really proud of ourselves for getting to this point. Our longest trip before this was a 50 mile, 3 day adventure in the beautiful Scottish Cairngorms. We’ve now walked over a THOUSAND miles in just over 3 months. This is definitely the toughest thing we have ever done, physically and mentally.
In the last 3 months we have crossed deserts, climbed huge mountains and wandered through vast forests, seeing the most spectacular scenery the world has to offer. We are truly appreciating big, wild, open spaces.
Our community of fellow PCT hikers are a varied bunch from all walks of life and corners of the world. We are really enjoying getting to know people and sharing this magical experience. We’ve made some friends for life.
What a warm welcome we’ve had from everyone we’ve met. We’ve been bowled over by the kindness of strangers e.g. giving us rides to town, offering us showers and really supporting the PCT community. There are some wonderful people we call trail angels, who to the weary hiker really are angels. Just when you’re about to crash and burn they appear (often in the middle of nowhere) with ‘magic’ like a cold soda or the best orange you’ve ever tasted. Very special and amazingly kind people!
Hiking as a couple brings it’s own rewards and challenges. Hikers often form groups but these relationships are often fluid as people’s hiking styles and preferences evolve. We’re in this together so we have to negotiate these things and compromise (a good skill for a successful marriage!). We’re working together really well as a team but still working out a happy medium and probably will be working on this right to the end!
1325 miles has not only tested our bodies to the limit but has taken it’s toll on our equipment too. Some of it has stood the test of time better than the rest. Generally equipment choices we’ve made have been the right ones but repairs and temporary fixes have become a regular occurrence. A full breakdown of our gear highs and lows will follow at a later date. All of this time hiking has given ideas of how to improve equipment and even invent new gear. Stay tuned for our own product line?
It’s not always plain sailing and everyday brings new challenges and sometimes frustrations too. We came out here to hike the PCT and experience America’s wild places. Sometimes it feels as though we spend so much time hiking and not enough time just ‘soaking’ it all in. It can be difficult to get the balance between getting the required miles in and taking time to appreciate our incredible surroundings.
Some people have commented that this is an ‘easy’ year to hike the trail as conditions are very hiker friendly e.g. a mild winter produced record low snow levels and easier river crossings compared to the tremendously tough 2011 season. We have huge respect for the class of 2011 and for anyone who hikes any portion of the trail in any year. Yes we’re lucky but we’re still facing the physical and mental challenge of hiking 20 plus miles a day for almost 6 months and all that comes with that.
A few observations…America really knows how to do breakfast, free refills rock and even sunshine gets boring after a while!
To our fellow hikers we salute you and wish you well on the glorious second half. To all our family and friends we miss you but are appreciating you from afar.