Then get ready by reading these tips before you go!
Read Up. Take advantage of educational material—books, blogs and websites—to mentally prepare. (See resource list below.)
Get Shod. Invest in properly fitting and appropriate footwear (shoes and socks); your feet are the most important piece of hiking equipment.
Practice. Use all gear as planned before ever setting out on the trail. (No surprises!)
Get Fit. Develop walking strength and increase fitness through a schedule of shorter hikes that build in duration.
Be Realistic. Consider the undertaking with your particular capabilities in mind. Not much vacation time? Not quite as fit? Divide the total distance into shorter chunks, and complete the trail via a series of hikes.
Karen Borski Somers is a native Texan and experienced thru-hiker. In her comprehensive 182-page book, each section is devoted to a particular segment of the trail and includes an overview, access and parking information, lists of available supplies and accommodations, water status (this varies by season and year), trail descriptions and mileage chart. Scattered throughout are photographs that breathe life into the verbiage. And a portion of sales from Somers’ guide goes to the LSTHC to help fund the club’s trail-related projects.
In her book, Cheryl Strayed (portrayed by Reese Witherspoon in the 2014 film), recounts undertaking 1,100 of the total 2,650 miles of the PCT as a cathartic journey after her mother’s untimely death.
Bill Bryson’s book is a humorous tale of two buddies undertaking another of America’s continuous footpaths, the Appalachian Trail. The AT covers 2,168 miles; Bryson and his friend Stephen Katz, both inexperienced hikers, gave up after traveling 800 miles. The movie (due out in September) stars Robert Redford as Bryson with Nick Nolte as Katz.
By Leah Fisher Nyfeler
Feature image credit Cathy Murphy