PCT - PREPARATION
Quitting our jobs, Renting out our house, Selling most of our belongings, Countless doctors visits, Gear to be purchased, Resupply’s to figure out, and the Training - oh the training; don’t get me started on the idealistic concept of both Mental & Physical Training. It’s overwhelming and exhausting.
I’m OCD to the core - lists on lists on lists on lists is how I cope with things, and so as you imagine I’ve made many lists over the past twelve months to help tackle our preparation. We’ve slowly been checking things off these lists, and now we’re nearly there.
Since doctors visits and renting out our house aren’t the most exciting discussion topics, we’re going to focus on two preparation aspects today:
Physical & Mental Training
As mentioned on our Pacific Crest Trail Page, we’re viewing this journey as back, to back, to back, to back… week long backpacking trips. We’re not setting out from Campo CA with all of the food, water, gear, & clothes that we’ll need for the next 5/6 months. I’m pretty sure that’s physically impossible.
As far as water is concerned, we’re going to rely heavily on Atlas Guides PCT interactive maps & app. These maps are updated live by hikers ahead of you, telling you if water sources are running or dry. (Atlas has tons of other awesome info, but we’ll focus on the topic at hand.) For food, we’re setting out with the essentials we need to get us to the first town. Once there, we’ll stop in at grocery / convenience stores to purchase the food we need to get us to the next town. In towns we’ll be able to fix broken gear, swap things out, purchase new gear, visit the post offices, etc.
Some towns are better equipped for thru-hikers than others. Some towns have limited resupply options, and are better utilized as a place to mail yourself the resupply you need. Halfway Anywhere is an incredible resource, and we’ve compiled our list of mail-drop resupply points based on their Resupply Guide Surveys. We’re not going to be mailing these from home in advance though, rather from towns on trail.
Remember that all we’re going to be doing for nearly half a year is walking - there will be plenty of time to figure things out along the way!
PHYSICAL & MENTAL TRAINING
Physical preparation has included a few day hikes with our packs, and that’s that. We’d love to be in trail shape before the trail, but working full time jobs simply doesn’t permit that. We do boulder three times a week, which should count for something? We’re trying to stretch regularly; at least every night. Getting into a stretching routine on trail will be crucial, so we’re trying to start that now. We have also just started the Insanity 2 Month Workout, which is bringing me right back to my Junior Year of College when me and my roommates decided to run this at 5:00am daily for whoever wanted to join. I’m definitely not doing it at 5:00am this time around, but we’re hoping the high intensity interval training will strengthen my pathetically weak lungs, and give our leg muscles some extra strength.
Mental preparation has been something we’ve focused more on. We’ve read lots of books, blogs, watched dozens of vlogs from those who’ve hiked the trail before, and tried to familiarize ourselves as much as possible with what’s to come. Of course most of these preconceived notions will likely be shattered on Day 1, but hey - that’s what they’re there for. One book I’d recommend is Pacific Crest Trials by Zach Davis. This book helped us focus in on why we’re hiking the PCT, and equipped us with some tricks and tips on how to make it happen.
We hope our preparation will be enough to not just get us through the trail, but bring our souls so much joy during this adventure.
-Sarah (& Jess) // Uphill Adventure