The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) represents different things to anyone who’s dreamed of walking on it. I close my eyes and see my feet moving along the trail. I love to hike and I dream of being surrounded by majestic views, lakes, streams, wildlife, desert, mountains, meadows, trees and fresh air! My heart speeds up thinking about the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range. Then there’s Mount Whitney. The highest summit in the contiguous United States at 14,505 feet and a one day side trip off the official PCT. It’s in my plan.
The PCT is 4,265 kilometres (2,650 miles) long travelling from the Mexico border to the Canada border. The trail passes through the states of California, Oregon and Washington and I’m hiking Northbound (NOBO) from the Southern Terminus at Campo, California to the Northern Terminus at Manning Park, British Columbia. Some folks hike Southbound (SOBO).
Since 1977, the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) has protected, maintained and advocated for the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCTA’s summary of the PCT is:
- 57 major mountain passes
- 19 major canyons
- 1,000 lakes & tarns
- 5 national monuments
- 5 state park units
- 6 national parks
- 7 BLM field offices
- 25 national forest units
- 48 federal wilderness areas
The elevation changes are extreme!
- Highest Point: Forester Pass – 13,153 feet (4,009 metres)
- Lowest Point: Cascade Locks – 140 feet (43 metres)
- Elevation Change: 420,880 feet (128,284 metres)
There is one statistic that astounds me – more people have summitted Mount Everest than have completed the entire PCT!
I begin my hike on March 24, 2019 and I’m part of the PCT Class of 2019. I will consider spending one night by myself camping on the trail a success. There are so many things that I’m worried about and some of it is just my imagination. Things like bears, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, cougars, the boogeyman, every single character from every single horror movie I’ve ever watched, uncaught serial killers, Bigfoot, mice eating into my tent, poison oak, poodle dog bush (who names this stuff?), running out of water, pooping in a hole that I have to DIG myself, lightning, snow … I can go on and on with my list!
I am an experienced hiker and I am a Princess. I do not like being dirty and I never smell. It will be interesting to see how I progress as the days/weeks/months go by. I have scoped out where and how I can get a mani, a pedi and my legs waxed. My crazy hair will be under a hat until I return home and Diane (Studio 107) can set me to rights.
I’m taking a small detour for a few days in April and heading to Victoria for a girls weekend with Nancy, Nadine, Debbie, Kim and Sheri. It’s going to be a massage a day for me! Plus I can eat all the chips and drink all the wine I want. Oh the guilt free bliss! This will also delay my arrival into Kennedy Meadows which with such an early start date is a good thing!
I have my PCT Long Distance Permit, the Canada PCT Entry Permit and my California Campfire Permit. I have read countless blogs and books and took notes. I read and watched “Wild” and loved both. Yes, I understand this is what not to do, but her story is raw, honest and inspiring. I have the Guthook and Halfmile PCT apps downloaded on my iPhone. I have Halfmile’s maps printed off.
For some reason, I am excited about signing the register books. I tend to have music lyrics in my head and I’m anticipating writing something like that.
I plan to have a post for every day. Note that I won’t always have service and you’ll get a flood of posts when I do. Bryan, Mom and Dad, if you don’t hear from me, take a deep breath and consult my plan that I will give you. All is well.
There are many, many different signs along the trail. I can’t wait to see them and take my own pictures.
When I quit smoking I had a half a pack left in the console of my car. Every time I freaked out craving a smoke I told myself that I could go have one in 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes passed, I no longer had the craving. Mental games with myself. I’m sure there will be days that I will want to quit the trail. My agreement with myself is that I won’t quit on a bad day and will “sleep on it”.
My plan is to return to work when I get home. The thought is exciting, welcome and scary. I also want to run out and spend all my remaining money on lottery tickets so I can continue travelling.
For now, I continue to plan and get the last of my gear together. I’m excited.
You all know about my addiction to Ketchup Doritos right? If you see some, buy them and mail them to me on the trail!
Jackie is “Mom” to one amazing son, an IT professional and an obsessed traveller. She spends her time reading, golfing at Ladies League and implementing software projects. Jackie has travelled to all 7 continents and 93 countries and is always planning the next destination and adventure!