Why the PCT and not the AT?

Why the PCT and NOT the AT? 

This question has been asked numerous times with the announcement of our upcoming plans to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Leaving our careers and family behind on the east coast to journey out west.  With the Appalachian Trail being right out our back door it seemed like that should have been the most likely choice.

Life has a way of tripping us up and holding us back with little bumps along the way. We become weighted down easily with family obligations, work, health issues, and just life in general. The thought of possibly missing an opportunity to escape and explore the west coast became distressing. Visions, plans, and goals had to be changed.

Reason One: Fear of boredom.

Reasons one and two really intertwine with one another a great deal. There are this great what-ifs that are always on the back of my mind. The what if this is our one and only opportunity to embark upon an escapade of this grandness. What if this my only opportunity to be released from this box in which I have found myself in. The day to day routines, the wonderment and curiosities of, is there more than this.

We’ve admired the PCT for years from a distant through books , various articles, and images. We’ve always thought of it as a perhaps a one day trail after the AT. A trail that is out of our reach and our skill.

As time passed our desire grew for something more than the promises and hopes of various mountain views found along the AT after walking for miles through thick forestry. With the PCT traversing through multiple ecosystems, 7 national parks,26 national forests, and 48 wilderness areas, doubling for 170 mile section of the John Muir Trail there will always be something to admire.

The vast openness of the skies. The allure of the trail has called us to embark upon this 2,650 mile journey by foot with our home on our back. We don’t want to risk boredom once summer hits especially when the AT becomes enclosed within the greenery.

Reason Two: The desire for solitude.

Growing up along the Appalachian mountains I have admired them from an early age. I became fascinated as a child for the longest time when our third grade teacher assigned us research projects about our community. My teacher pointed out the window at the mountains and began telling us about the Appalachian Trail.

As an adult we have explored different sections of the AT and we have loved every bit of it. The one aspect we don’t always enjoy is how we can become lost in the “green tunnel” where we can hike for an entire day, especially in the dead of summer without a view. When we do come across areas with beautiful views, if not timed just right it is usually highly trafficked, taking the joy away.

One of our main reasons why we are going on this journey of self discovery is for the solitude, quietness, and stillness.The search for solitude and a time to released from worldly obligations is one of our primary reasons why.

Reason Three: Inability to come home as easy.

We’ve accepted and realized one of our greatest weakness when we become incredibly drained is homesickness. As much as we can’t wait to escape everyday life for a bit, home is our security and our refuge. The fear of missing too much of our daughters’ lives and grandson’s life is real. If we were to stay on the east coast with the close proximity to towns it would be easier to forgo our journey.  Taking our opportunity to grow and the joy of fulfilling a dream. In reality it is only a few short months out of a lifetime.

In Conclusion:

The PCT gives us everything we are looking for. The AT is still on our list to one day complete but being in such close range it’s one that could easily be completed over time. I still have a goal to summit Katahdin one day. Perhaps during another summer adventure….I’ll head north on a day hike and continue on!

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Comments 3

  • Wombie : Feb 14th

    I would find very different reasons to hike the PCT. I completed the AT in 2021 and now the draw to do the PCT is very strong, but I think you 3 reasons miss the mark. The AT has what you are looking for and more. I think the views and culture are going to be different but all of the components of your article are available on the AT or the PCT it is up to you to reach for what you want.

    • Katie : Feb 19th

      Thank you for feedback I do have a desire to one day to complete the AT. I love the community along the trail when I section hike along the trail or tend to the shelter we help to maintain. Congratulations on your completion hopefully you are able to journey on the PCT if you are being pulled to do so.

  • Michael Whitley : Mar 30th

    It’s March 30th! Good Luck on your journey!


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