I have switched sides…muhahah. From AT hiking to PCT working

Howdy everyone! I have switched sides…muhahaha. Just kidding, I am a thru hiker from the Appalachian Trail in 2022 turned Crest Runner for the PCT this year in 2023. Super excited!! I just spent almost seven months living on trail from March 17th to October 1st, and apparently that wasn’t enough time for me at all. So here I am in California this time working for the PCTA as a crest runner at the southern terminus. This job just started on February 1st so I’ve only had three days of training so far, but I am excited!

Everyone that I have met and spoken with working for the PCTA is very nice and well-spoken. There were a lot of meetings about the history and the visitor use management of the PCT and it is already very interesting to see the differences between the AT and the PCT. In 1968, Congress passed the National Scenic Trail System Act designating the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail to be under the guidance of either the US park service or the US Forest service respectively. The PCT has to deal with more national forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and more individual places to go through that require a permit when compared to the AT which only has a permit needed for the Smoky Mountains and the Shenandoah National Park. Like I said, even though it has only been three days of learning, it is very interesting to learn the differences between the two cousin trails within the East/West coast.

One additional thing that has grabbed my attention is the why behind the permit system for the PCT. The PCTA are not the ones who give out the permits, but rather have an agreement to distribute the permits each year. The thinking behind this is to help maintain the trail in order for the user to experience what Congress had said when the Act was passed. Fun fact, the PCT is for hikers and equestrians! And the PCTA uses horses or mules etc when going to maintain the trail to get the crew the needed supplies which I find super interesting because the AT was mainly for foot traffic only. Learning about the land management and the visitor use management plans has been super interesting, and if you haven’t, I would recommend going to the PCTA’s website and reading more into it! There are a lot of methods behind the madness of why there are permit systems in place. And let me be clear, the permit system is to help hikers have a continuous journey to go through all of the areas where permits are needed without having to get off trail and go through the process of getting a single permit for that specific area.

Anyways, I have really been enjoying the background for how an organization works for the benefit of the trail. I think that’s a good enough intro blog for now. Because if I’m going to be frank, I am currently writing this from an Applebee’s in Southern California because I thought today was the super bowl and I wanted to watch. My father thankfully helped to inform me that today was not in fact Superbowl Sunday and that it is next week. Maybe one day I’ll learn what day it is in a timely manner.

Up next from the noggin’s brain power about what to write for a blog: What it’s like to step foot and hike on the PCT

February 5th, 2023



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