PCT or AT?

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PCT or AT?

Postby jobell » Fri 13 Feb, 2015 10:11 am

Has anyone here walked both the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) and the AT (Appalachian Trail)? If so, which would you recommend to an Australian bushwalker and why? It's looking like I might have an opportunity to walk one if these coming up and I'm split for choice :-)
"Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R.Tolkien
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby Mark F » Sun 15 Feb, 2015 5:16 pm

I have walked neither but read about both extensively and would jump at the chance of walking either trail. If I was able to pick, I would choose the PCT over the AT but I like high, open country; the AT is often described as a green corridor.
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby norts » Sun 15 Feb, 2015 5:54 pm

Havent done both, I have done the AT and am starting the PCT this April. My experiences on the AT were fantastic. i had to get over the mind set that I was going to be seeing magnificent vistas all the time( the green tunnel). There were some great views but a fair distance between them.
The AT is fairly easy to organise, you can get away with out organising food drops. Also the towns are closer together ( not as heavy pack)and there is alot of infrastructure (ie Trail Angels) to support the thru hikers. It can be a very social walk also. The trail corridor has some of the most friendly ppl you will meet.

I think most triple crowners do the AT first then PCT followed by the CDT. I did meet a couple of them who were doing the AT last though. They considered the AT walking more demanding, the PCT is designed for horses as well as ppl. The AT has some pretty steep climbs, ie ladders, steel bars in rocks but you dont get the altitude of the PCT.
The time window on the AT is longer than the PCT, you dont have to consider snow melt on the AT just some pretty nasty spring snow storms down south. The finish on Mt Katahdin is something special where as the the end of the PCT is just a marker on the border.

Which ever you decide to do , dont take it lightly, it is hard walking for 4-6 months. The mental side of it is tougher than anything physical you will encounter.

If you want to ask any specific questions on the AT please dont hesitate.
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby jobell » Sun 15 Feb, 2015 9:10 pm

Thanks for your thoughts. Leaning towards the PCT, but organising resupplies for the PCT could be challenging. Although I am aware there's a service now that you can subscribe to that can take care of that side of things. Also the Sierras in anything but a low snow season probably aren't my cup of tea. Will you blog while you walk Norts? Or a trail journal? If so will follow with interest.
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby norts » Sun 15 Feb, 2015 9:39 pm

I dont know how much research you have done but here is a couple of sites that may help you:
http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/ ... ion-hiking
http://www.pcta.org/
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/content.php
I met Wired on the AT, she is a triple crowner
http://www.walkingwithwired.com/2012/01 ... cters.html
http://www.pmags.com/pacific-crest-trail-planning-info

I dont do an online blog. Too much pressure for me, not a great writer. I keep a paper journal, mostly just the details of the day.

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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby Turfa » Mon 16 Feb, 2015 5:37 pm

Like Taz/Norts I have hiked the AT but not the PCT (yet ...bring on 2017 !) but my in-laws live close to Lake Tahoe, so I have done some shorter walks around the Sierras. All Norts advice is spot on. PCT has more views and the trail is better graded, but the AT is logistically easier. You could rock up to Springer Mtn with your winter gear & 3 days of food & start walking North, that is about all the planning you need for the AT.

The AT might be a slightly easier intro to long distance hiking, but you could have a crack at either with probably equal chances of success. Having any bushwalking experience at all puts you way in front of most people who start !
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby Eljimberino » Tue 17 Feb, 2015 1:53 pm

I'd be interested in a crack at PCT 2017. Seems like you'll meet plenty of people on the way?


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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby Turfa » Tue 17 Feb, 2015 8:50 pm

Yeah, plenty of people out there, but still a lot of trail, so if you want to be on your own you easily can.
The next few years are likely to see a spike in numbers on the PCT due to the movie "Wild"
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby Johnnie Walker » Fri 27 Feb, 2015 5:18 pm

Turfa wrote:The next few years are likely to see a spike in numbers on the PCT due to the movie "Wild"

AT might get busy after the movie "A walk in the woods" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1178665/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_6
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby davidmorr » Fri 27 Feb, 2015 11:02 pm

It is hard to imagine that book as a movie. It was mostly the things that he saw and experienced that made the book, not his actual walking.
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby jobell » Mon 02 Mar, 2015 5:25 pm

I'm now reading through a blog of a kiwi who walked the CDT. Given it's described as the "PhD" of trail walking, I will definitely start with one of the other two. Given I'm used to walks where I pretty much have the trail to myself, my only worry about the AT is that I won't like the crowds. That said, I do like meeting people and the trail culture in the US fascinates me. Plus, for hitching and camping near roads and so forth, company makes it safer. Providing the Australian dollar holds up I'm starting on plans to walk one or the other of the PCT or AT in 2016. If it dips I'll walk elsewhere!
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby norts » Mon 02 Mar, 2015 6:56 pm

This an interesting video of the AT by National Geographic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=expjsUj9dZo

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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby Johnnie Walker » Tue 03 Mar, 2015 12:35 pm

Bill Walker (aka Skywalker) wrote books about both. I read them a while back but I think they give a good impression of the trails.
    Skywalker - Close Encounters on the Appalachian trail
    Skywalker - Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail

[edit]
Movie "As It Happens: Pacific Crest Trail" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIvyuazEoaw
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby DanShell » Fri 06 Mar, 2015 10:19 am

Ive read quite a few books and watched a few youtubers do the AT and PCT and one thing that has bugged me about all the people doing these two popular walks is how do they manage to take 6 months or so out of their lives to do it?

For someone like me to do that it would mean loss of income and being away from my wife and kids...its just not possible. Even if I could selfishly take half a year away from my family (which i just couldn't do it) I couldn't finance it.
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby norts » Fri 06 Mar, 2015 3:43 pm

I got made redundant, that gave me time, I have an understanding wife & the children have left home, finance, that's a bit harder. Saved hard and dont have any debts.
AT last year cost me $12K , the PCT this year will cost about $14k. That doesnt include gear, I had most gear.

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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby hobbitle » Fri 06 Mar, 2015 3:56 pm

davidmorr wrote:It is hard to imagine that book as a movie. It was mostly the things that he saw and experienced that made the book, not his actual walking.


I want to see how they characterise Mary Lou


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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby DanShell » Fri 06 Mar, 2015 9:50 pm

norts wrote:I got made redundant, that gave me time, I have an understanding wife & the children have left home, finance, that's a bit harder. Saved hard and dont have any debts.
AT last year cost me $12K , the PCT this year will cost about $14k. That doesnt include gear, I had most gear.

norts/Taz



Thanks Norts. My question is probably more about the US residents. In your case I can very much relate to how you have achieved it but to see so many young americans makes me wonder if government benefits over there are generous...which of course goes against what i have been led to believe.
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby norts » Fri 06 Mar, 2015 10:49 pm

These are my impressions so no formal study.
The young ones on the trail seemed to be doing a gap year or still young enough that they didn't have family commitments/ mortgages etc. There didnt seem to be alot in the 30 to 50 yr old age bracket. Alot of ppl had quit their job, or were in between jobs.
I met doctors(MD)( at least 2, one retired); nuclear engineer; alot of ex service men/women; nurse;financial advisor; real estate salesman( wife was running the business while he hiked) , flight co ordinator for major airline( he had saved up his leave and did alot of overtime), bloke who did security on ships off somalia( his trail name was Capt Phillips);retired probationary officer, A family of 4(D & M, boy 11 girl 7) Dad had taken leave with out pay from his job( lawyer).

Alot of the youngsters are just like our young Aussies, save up, go overseas, except in their cases they do they a thru hike.
Some thru hikers use GoFundMe.

Taz/Norts
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Re: PCT or AT?

Postby DanShell » Fri 06 Mar, 2015 11:17 pm

norts wrote:These are my impressions so no formal study.
The young ones on the trail seemed to be doing a gap year or still young enough that they didn't have family commitments/ mortgages etc. There didnt seem to be alot in the 30 to 50 yr old age bracket. Alot of ppl had quit their job, or were in between jobs.
I met doctors(MD)( at least 2, one retired); nuclear engineer; alot of ex service men/women; nurse;financial advisor; real estate salesman( wife was running the business while he hiked) , flight co ordinator for major airline( he had saved up his leave and did alot of overtime), bloke who did security on ships off somalia( his trail name was Capt Phillips);retired probationary officer, A family of 4(D & M, boy 11 girl 7) Dad had taken leave with out pay from his job( lawyer).

Alot of the youngsters are just like our young Aussies, save up, go overseas, except in their cases they do they a thru hike.
Some thru hikers use GoFundMe.

Taz/Norts
.



Thanks again. It was pretty much as I expected I guess. Funding it as a younger person would be quite easy (my eldest daughter has travelled the world..in fact she is in Indonesia at the moment much to my disappointment) however the 6-7 months out of life would be the hardest decision id imagine.
The GoFundMe website is new to me, I couldn't imagine my family and/or friends tipping too much money towards me wanting to take a holiday ;)

Good luck with your PCT hike, I am envious.
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