PCT! – But why?

The decision to hike the PCT was quite a long process. After I came back from La Réunion I was sure that I wanted to hike a longer trail. I started asking myself “What is longer?”. As I couldn’t answer this question with specific numbers, I started to look for the longest trails out there. I figured, that I can always stop if I feel I’m done but I did not want to decide on a 4-week-hike and be unsatisfied or going for a 1,000-km-hike and feel undone. There are quite a few long trails out there all over the world and I somehow wanted to hike them all. But that urge didn’t help me now. I needed to make a decision, I needed clues. I watched videos, read a few blogs, tried to get inspired by something, but it all failed, it all felt the same. So I tried to narrow it down to some aspects, I wanted some adventure but also security, I wanted some wild but comfort, I wanted to sleep in my tent but not being illegal. Those aspects narrowed it down for me to trails in North-America as wild-camping is not allowed in most of europe (exceptions apply but then you won’t have really long-distance hikes), Asia doesn’t have a developed hiking- and camping-culture, New Zealand was a bit too expensive, Australia too remote, Africa too wild and I couldn’t imagine South-America back then. When looking into long-distance hikes in North-America one will find three trails in particular, they are the Appalachian Trail (AT), the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). At first I wanted to hike the AT as it looked to be with the best infrastructure. I was still a novice in hiking as I only hiked once before, well twice by the time I finally hiked the PCT. I started to talk to friends about my plans and it felt better and better as more often I talked about it. I was getting there finding my first long-distance-hike: the AT. I remember the moment I told my friend Helmut, r. i. p. my friend, and his wife Christel about my plans. They told me that they have been in the Appalachian mountains before and they agreed on it being a nice landscape. “Nice?” I asked. “Yes, and a bit boring” was their answer. “It’s only a green tunnel, you walk through the woods all the time. It’s similiar to the Black Forest…but for six month.” Those words put doubt in my mind.
A few weeks later I happened to be in the Saxon Switzerland, maybe comparable to the Black Forest, and I decided to take a little hike there. No, I was sure after returning, I don’t want to do this for six months. I want a different trail. So it came to decide between the CDT and the PCT. Well, that was easy. The CDT was too adventurous for me (again, back then!), so I finally started to think to hik the PCT. Suddenly I could see clearly now. That’s the decision I was waiting for. Why did I not think about this earlier?  I have lived in California before, I still have friends there I haven’t seen in many years, I really like the US west coast. The PCT offers adventure and comfort as you come through towns every 5 days on average. I’m allowed to wild-camping. This one was pure perfect. And what an adventure the PCT is! Incredible! What a landscape! How many awesome people!

One thing I really enjoyed before hiking was thinking to meet my dear friends again. Friends I almost forgot about, I must admit. Friends I haven’t spoken to in a long time, I must admit. Friends I wrote to a few weeks before arrival in San Francisco and they welcomed me with open arms. Friends I will never forget! Thank you Susie, my sister from high-school. Thank you Michelle, a great friend back in time and now. Thank you Chris, also a great friend through the times. I should mention many other and please, if you read this, be sure you are not forgotten. We share many valuable memories.

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