Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thru Hiker Blog Update...

Blogger Extraordinaire, Carrot Quinn, finishing her 2014 Thru Hike of the PCT.

I started out this Thru Hiker season by following 19 blogs written by hikers who were attempting to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail. It was an especially big year for the PCT, as 1,300 Thru Hiker permits were issued by the PCT Association. You have to have a hiker permit if you plan to hike more than 500 miles of the PCT at a time. The permit enables you to breeze on through some of the more congested areas of the trail in the Sierra. Especially the John Muir section.

But back to the hikers and their blogs. Of the 19 blogs that I followed, 2 of them actually finished the trail yesterday. These are the rabbits. The hardcore hikers who live the Hiker Trash lifestyle. Carrot Quinn was one of the finishers. She has garnered a bit of attention from the PCT magazine when she wrote a piece for that at the beginning of the season. Her blog really is well written---although a bit young and vulgar at times. One Who Cannot is a blog written by one of the herd that traveled with Carrot. He borrows the title from the beginning of Aldo Leopold's classic book, A Sand County Almanac.

As far as I can tell, six other bloggers that I started the year out reading are still slogging it out on the trail. A couple of them look like they aren't going to make it as they are still in Northern California.

One who probably will make it is Lon, otherwise known as Halfmile. He is the guy who created very informative, downloadable maps of the PCT for free. He is a living legend amongst those who hike the trail. He was hiking with his girlfriend, but she dropped out a few weeks ago. He carries on, hobbled a bit by injury, but carrying on nevertheless.

And of those who dropped out? Josh and Mandie were my favorites. They were just everyday people, not in the best of shape, who decided to hike the trail. They dropped out due to injury. Mandie's advice on what they did wrong is excellent. I hope they take another stab at the trail.

Injury and homesickness got the other Thru Hikers. One of them made it all the way to Ashland, Oregon before he had to drop out. Another drop out was Professor Errant, an English Professor who got a sabbatical to hike the trail. He lasted a couple of days before he got hurt. Then he tried again and lasted a week. He still got the sabbatical though.

So the tally so far? 2 have finished; 6 are still plugging along; 11 have quit. Usually about 50% of those who get permits to Thru Hike actually finish the trail.

Of course, all these people are winners in my book. They dreamed big and took a chance. They pushed themselves and I think every one of them came away from the trail loving the PCT even more. And yes, I have some criticisms of Thru Hiker culture, yet, anybody who takes that amount of time during their lives and devotes it to walking, well, we just need more of that. Fewer people sitting on their asses is a good thing. We all should get off our backsides and join them on the trail. It'd do all of us some good.

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