One of the things that makes the PCT so great is what is known as the PCT Community. There is a connectedness among the hikers (past and present) and also supporters who live along the trail. It wasn’t until I started to hike solo that I really started to experience that sense of community and generosity. There are about 300 hikers who attempt to thru hike the PCT every year. To put this in perspective, about 2,000 hikers attempt the Appalachian Trail every year. There is a small group mentality that bonds people along the trail and makes for a very supportive community. Last season, I followed journals similar to mine written from other solo female backpackers. I’ve gotten in touch with a couple and it has been really encouraging to have them there for advice and support (thanks Rockin’ and Sticky Fingers!).
|A training hike with fellow Portland PCTers Matthew & Samantha|
I also joined the PCT email forum called the PCT-L. It has connected me with so many people involved with the PCT. Everyone from hikers to supporters to gear makers are on the list. They answer questions, share information, provide support, give advice,etc. It has just been amazing to me how giving and helpful complete strangers can be. Through the PCT-L, I have met a group of Portlanders who are also hiking this year. It has been great to meet with them, talk trail, support each other, and also make the rainy training hikes enjoyable (yay Matthew & Samantha!). It will be great to start the trail already knowing some of my fellow hikers and we may even overlap along the trail. I’ve even arranged to hike my fist day with another solo hiker with the same start date as me who is from Canada (hi Michael!).
I mentioned earlier about the generosity of complete strangers. Just recently, I was able to find a host family (the awesome Shermans!) willing to pick me and Michael up at the airport in San Diego, give us a home cooked meal for our final night off the trail, and then take us to the trailhead early the next morning. Like many supporters along the trail, they do no want payments, so we will at least be making a donation to the trail in their honor. I may be hiking the trail solo, but with the PCT community, I know I’ll never truly be alone.