I am really excited to share that I have successfully applied and had approval for a long distance hiking permit on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) next year. The permit was harder to obtain than I had anticipated. A few weeks ago after work, I sat in the queue on the PCT association’s dedicated online web portal, along with thousands of other people around the world, to apply for 1 of 1,470 permits. Thankfully I made it through and chose a starting date to complete my application, a few weeks later my permit was approved.
It is possible to walk the PCT without the long distance hiking permit but receiving this permit eliminates the process of applying to the various land management agencies for singular permits to hike and camp along the trail in national parks. Permits are issued to control unsafe levels of footfall on the trail, controlling hiker traffic to save the environment from unnecessary damage and disruption while making the experience more enjoyable for all.
There is a 6 week window when a long distance permit is required to start at the Southern Terminus of the PCT in Campo, California. Hiking outside of this window is uncomfortably cold (even for me) or dangerously hot (even for me!) so there is much less demand to start outside of the 6 week window in March through to May.
With only 3 months left until I leave the UK, it’s time to get on with some serious planning. Next up on the list is obtaining a visa. It is good news for my trip that the US have begun to allow British citizens into their country for tourism, this has encouraged increased activity at the US embassy in London. I had applied for a B2 visa in December 2020. This type of visa allows me to enter the US for an extended period beyond the 3 months the visa waiver program offers through ESTA. My visa appointment had already been cancelled earlier this year with a revised appointment for March 2022. This would not be a quick enough turnaround given my March 2022 start date of my PCT permit. News came through that the embassy had released more appointment dates so I rushed to book an earlier appointment date in February. Without a B2 visa the whole trip will not be possible.
For the next few months there is much to do with planning the detail of logistics for my resupply plan while I am on trail. I am fortunate to have friends in the states that can support me with this but nonetheless it is a mammoth task to plan for 2,600 miles.