A Day In the Life of a PCT Thru-Hiker
A lot of you may wonder what a day in the life of a PCT thru-hiker is like. Is it all fun and games? Do we sleep late and take lots of naps? Is it stressful and miserable? Is there any rhyme or reason to it?
I took the liberty of recording what one of my days on the trail looks like, in case you want to put yourself in my smelly, dirty hiking shoes for a day.
If there is anything routine about it, this is it.
0530 is my wake-up deadline although I start looking for the sun at about 0500.
As I roll out of the sleeping bag, I start packing. The bag gets stuffed as soon as it’s empty (of me).
Rub eyes and insert contact lens. Now able to see clearly, I think of reasons I should have stayed in the bag. I pull on another shirt and a down sweater and start moving with purpose. (Yeah, right.)
While loading my gear into the pack, I manage to down an Instant Breakfast and put an oat bar in my pocket. (Got to keep those pocket monsters happy.)
Once packed, I’m off for a morning hike. I enjoy these first couple of hours between 6 and 8. It seems as if the birds and I are the only ones out until I stop for my “second breakfast.” Then, while I eat oatmeal, Pop-Tarts, and fresh coffee, I greet my fellow hikers as they pass me by.
Whenever I need it, I stop for fresh cold water. Depending on how vigorously the bees are defending their water spot, this can be a pleasant break.
But when I get to an appropriately wonderful vista point between 12 and 1, I stop for an hour or so for lunch. It’s a working lunch, though. After some energy bars and other snacks, I delve into the notes I need to write on what I just saw and review the facts and features of the upcoming trail.
My goal each day is to cover about 20 miles. Depending on how I’ve done, I am usually able to stop hiking at about 1830 – more or less.
A fresh cup of coffee comes first and then dinner. And while I write more notes, review more miles ahead, and plan for the next day, I’m enjoying a hot cup of tea.
I keep my bivy site pretty simple—I cowboy camp unless there’s inclement weather coming. Which means that I cowboy camp every night. Simple: ground sheet, 3/4 z-pad, and sleeping bag.
Simple. Good night and good trails.