Q&A with Hawkeye
On May 2nd, 2016 resident Fin & Feather Blog author, and the newly trail-named Hawkeye will be beginning a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Having kept an extensive log of the most commonly asked questions he receives when telling people this, Hawkeye was happy to answer some frequent inquires about the Pacific Crest Trail.
What is the Pacific Crest Trail?
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a continuous footpath that takes users from the border of Mexico and California to the border of Canada and Washington. Stretching for over 2,600 miles, the PCT crosses through four National Monuments, five State Parks, six National Parks and numerous National Forests and Federal Wildernesses. The PCT is one of the original National Scenic Trails put into place by the 1968 National Scenic Trails Act, and has been meticulously looked after by local government organizations, volunteers and users alike ever since. Crossing through arguably some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in North America, elevation ranges from <1,000 ft. at it its lowest and over 13,000 at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
How Will You Carry or Get your Food?
Generally speaking, the plan is to carry anywhere between one and six day’s worth of food at a time, and when you are carrying everything on your back, the more frequent I can resupply food and carry as little as possible the better. To get new food on the trail, 75% of my food resupply is going to be bought in towns and small communities found on or near the trail. The other 25% has already been packed up here at home in Iowa City, put into boxes, and appropriately labeled to be shipped out to me at pre-planned dates and post-office locations.
Will You Be Yourself on the Trail?
For the first month of this approximately 6-month journey, I will be traveling by myself but far from alone. Due to the increased popularity of the trail over the past 10 years, the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) limits the number of people that can start the trail each day between the traditional starting months of April and May. The limit this year was 50 people a day, and it filled up fairly quickly. So yes, I will be traveling by myself out to the trail, but I’m sure to make a few friends once I’m out there. For the following two months I will have an adventure partner travelling from the Iowa City area. After that, and for the remaining 2.5 – 3 months, time will tell who I’ll be traveling with (if anybody), and I’m excited to find out for myself.
How Do You Train for Such an Endeavor?
The main plan was just to walk, and walk a lot. Having purchased a Garmin VivoFit from Fin & Feather, beginning about six months ago I started to really pay attention to how many steps I got in a day, and was surprised when my average routine barely got me to 10,000 steps/day (roughly 5 miles). I’ll be required to walk a rough average of 20 miles/day on the PCT, so I started walking to work, walking to the grocery store, walking to my friends house, walking everywhere, eventually selling my car and hitting 50-60 miles on foot in five days. Along the way and over time, I started carrying my backpack and slowly adding weight, until finally I was hitting big miles with my pack on, and giving other commuters something to look at as I trekked down the sidewalks and streets of Iowa City.
What Are You Going to Do After You’ve Finished the Hike?
Probably take a seat for a moment. In reality though, I don’t know the full plan because it is six months away. As it is on paper though, I’ll be back in Iowa City and will have six months worth of photos, video and writing to sift through. If everything goes according to plan, starting next January, 2017 the real story will begin and a complete recount of the journey will be published on the Pacific Crest Trail Journal. Until then, flexibility will be key, and a positive mind will go further than a new pair of shoes, I’m looking forward to the journey and I hope you do to.