Just a countdown of the top ten trips Mark and I hope to do within the next 5 years. Some already have the approximate time frame. Some may wind up being squeezed in between other trips. Several are based on Glenn Goodrich's planned itinerary ( www. gauleylhama.com ) I will list them over the next 10 days in the order of personal importance of accomplishment, but is not in the sequential order of "when" I am going.
1) Hike the entire 2650 mile Pacific Crest Trail
~~est start: mid April 2014
This is the top of my "To do before I die" list. Running the entire Colorado River in the Grand Canyon used to fill that spot, but since I was able to accomplish that one both in 2005, and half the Canyon in 2001-I now bumped hiking the PCT into the numero uno spot.
click the map to enlarge
Its not often one gets to claim they've spent 6 months
hiking what equals the distance of walking across the country. I wouldn't be the first--and I certainly won't be the last--however-- out of a country with over 300 million people--only about 300 people a year attempt to thru-hike the entire PCT--and usually less than half of that number complete their journey and make it all the way to Canada.
Southern Terminus Of the PCT
The trail begins in Campo, Calif. right at the Mexican border. Its only over 1000 miles, as the crow flies, from Mexico to Canada--but the PCT is 2 1/2 times as long as it zigzags it's way thru California, Oregon and Washington.
It climbs 60 major mountain passes, 19 major canyons and traverses past a 1000 lakes.
On top of that it ambles past 3 national monuments, 7 National Parks, 24 National Forests, and 33 mandated wilderness areas.
click on picture for larger view of Crater Lake
The PCT also brings you to the 3 deepest lakes in the US--Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe and Lake Chelan. I've read that less people have completed hiking the PCT than those who have summited Mt Everest.
SoCal desert can climb to over 110 degrees in the summer
Starting out in the scorching heat of the high and low deserts of Southern California-like the Mohave Desert and Anza Borrego State Parks is not a pleasant place to find yourself in the midst of summer, so most hikes begin mid April to mid May to take advantage of the cooler spring temperatures. It crosses San Andreas fault 3 times. After passing thru places like Mt.Baden-Powell, San Jacinto, San Gabriel and Tehachapi Mountains then you hit the next big hurdle--the highly anticipated High Sierras-- which are impassable til about mid June because of snow in the high passes.
Some take a side trip and summit Mt Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 at 14,505ft! You will also find yourself passing thru breathtaking places like King's Canyon, Sequoia National Park, and Yosemite. The trail also joins up thru most of the John Muir trail.
Mt. Whitney in late summr
Northern California you get to enjoy places like Lake Tahoe, Lassen Volcanic National Park and Mt. Shasta. Once you cross into Oregon the trail takes you thru dense shady forests. Some of the highlights in this state are Mt. Hood, Three Sisters Wilderness, Crater Lake and the Columbia River Gorge.
In late summer around early September you cross into Washington state by way of the Bridge of the Gods then up into the spectacular Northern Cascades with its spectacular mountain vistas and often fickle weather. Goat Rocks Wilderness Area, Mt Adams, Alpine Lakes, Glacier Peak, views of Mt Rainer and Mt. St Helen are some of the highlights of this state.
Finally reaching the Canadian border you have an additional 7 miles to arrive at the final destination of Manning Provincial Park.
In order to finish the trail in approximately 6 months most hikers must average 15-20 miles per day. Of course during this trip I plan to stop take "zero" days and visit friends, throw in a whitewater trip or two. We have some friends and family that plan to join us for part of the trail--aka a "section hiker". Of course anyone adventurous enough to live out of their backpack for 6 months and join us on the entire thru hike is more than welcome and have 5 years to get yer "act" together and make it happen. So what are you waiting for---get movin!
This 2650 mile trek---begins with a single step . . making it to Canada is not half as important as is the journey to get there. Getting there is half the fun! "There is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." This is an experience I am really looking forward to.