Any hiker out there dreams on the year they’ll be hiking the pacific crest trail also known as the PCT. Some hikers want to do the entire trail, others just want to do a section or two of the PCT, mainly in the Sierras where the PCT is famous for. The trail is a journey of a lifetime that runs from the Mexican border all the way to Canada. A way of living intentional is finding a way and focusing your life in what really matters to you, focusing in what makes you happy and lets you grow. Living your life in a loop like most people, feels secure and normal, but there is nothing intentional nor fulfilling for some people. Living in a loop removes most of the thought and purpose. We feel secure inside a groundhog day, its all we know and need most of the time. When living the loop for 5 months or so may feel scary, yet for most people just the planning is exciting, the hardest part is the first step.
Having too many goals can be a problem as then we don’t accomplish any of them, but setting a year in the future where you are planning to hike a section or the entire PCT can be very helpful. There are a many steps to think and plan toward that goal. Mainly saving the money that will take to live 5 month on the trail. For all the blogs and post from hikers I read the past 6 years, the average of pocket money is around $2000 to $3000 as well as having any recurring expense that you could not remove from your life, most of the time is health insurance and a cell phone data plan. Rent, car payment, car insurance, groceries and food and debt should be all gone by now and you are ready to exit the loop.
There is a minimum of gear that you’ll need as well, most hikers found REI used gear day the best resource to purchase the gear you’ll need. I would recommend to purchase as ultralight as your budget allows you. I have experience in the section trails experience hikers having around $1000 in gear and most used gear as could need to be replace while hiking. Hiking shoes and socks are the first one to go, like tires on a car, they need to be replaced after a few miles.
The trail life isn’t for everybody, living an intentional life does not mean to exit the loop and living like a homeless person. For some people the idea is very exciting, for others their intentional life is not even close to a hiking life. Its difficult to understand the later people, but everybody’s goals and wishes are different. This is only a recipe that works for some small number of people, and idea that makes sense. Waking up every day to a destination unknown where beauty is all around and nature is always on sight, a place away from the cubicle, computer screens and water coolers. A place where only you can make the decisions of going right or left and people slowdown to a deeper conversation. Where people become fast friends and memories are forever.
When you stuck on a loop life, everyday is pretty much the same, so there are no memories of everyday occurrences unless that day you had a out of ordinary situation. On the trail, everyday is a memory, you also remember the food you ate, the people that you meet and the things you saw while hiking on the trail. Most hikers talk fondly of the PCT after years, they still remember each section of the trail and the people they met. The most important is, they remember the person they were before the trail, they grow more on that experience than other their lifetime, a trail well lived is a trail where the hiker overcomes the bad situations that are unavoidable unfortunately. Quitting is an option that when taken is always regretful. Never met a hiker that quit that didn’t regretted, yet sometimes due health, injury or family emergencies, those are also never unavoidable.
Most of the PCT hikers I met, including section hikers, after the trail, their focus is to go back into the trail or another trail. There is a mind switch that happens to hikers where being hiking is a way of life. The trail keeps calling them, and the winters working on an office are just a way to collect funds and daydreams for another trail.
There are many resources now for PCT hikers, most of the resupply points are in any book or digital print, maps can be found on apps for your phone online. All the information and experience from other hikers are in journals and blogs around the Internet. Most of the unknown has been remove, still the adventure is yours, the hike is also for you to customize. There is no right or wrong way, you do not need to do the whole PCT, hike your own hike means to do what you want to do and how you want to do it, don’t follow the convention, if you want to skip the desert area, you should and must. At the end is your life and experience, nobody else and nobody else will understand. You are doing this for yourself and yourself alone. Hike your own hike.