• Emily Hayes

2 weeks to go, PCT nerves setting in

As I write this I am 2 weeks away from flying to the States. I will fly into Philadelphia to set up HQ at my friend’s house where I will prepare resupply parcels to post on to myself when I am on trail. A further week spent with friends to decompress from the chaotic life I have been living in the UK and then I’ll be flying to San Diego to start walking from Campo which is at mile zero on the Pacific Crest Trail.


To get to the start of the trail I’m planning to camp at a nearby equestrian centre that offers a free site for thru-hikers. I have an idea that I’d like to start at the Southern Terminus monument at sunrise when there is no one else around. The starting point is in Southern California, on the border to Mexico. Yes, there is a wall there. There is also a monument that marks the start of the trail and it has become an iconic aspect of the PCT. So many hopeful hikers start at this point, taking photos and sharing the start of their journey. Not everyone completes the 2,600 mile trail but those that do will have the joy of finishing at the Northern Terminus monument, a mirror image of the southern monument, surrounded by the wilderness with an invisible border between Washington state and British Colombia, Canada.


The first few 100 miles in Southern California will be desert but with elevation building to about 3,000m into the San Jacinto Mountains I will likely experience snow in March. Hopefully the winter snow skills course I took in the Cairngorms in February will prepare me for the snowy mountains I will experience in the states. For now, I feel well prepared for most of my journey ahead but also a little nervous about the dangers of ice and snowy conditions on the mountains.


Cairngorms winter skills course


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I am self funding my thru-hike of the PCT, 100% of donations will go straight to my chosen charity KOTO. 

1 pence per mile goes a long way for KOTO with my commitment to walk 2,600 miles.