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[pct-l] (Brian Robinson ~ PCT thru-hike styles)

I am no expert on hiking.  I first hikes on the PCT in 68 and have done
all of Oregon and parts of southern Washington.  Being very interested
in what makes a good day in day out through hiker I have to compliment
Brian Robinson's (PCT '97) comments on hiking.  In a few short lines he
sums up what some others try to say in books they sell for 20 bucks and
up.  Anyone thinking doing a hike of more than three weeks would be well
served to read his thoughts a second time!!  Thank You Brian!!!!!!  Text
Mikel G. Edwards
Meet East-West
24 Wood Path
St. Peters, MO 63376-3082
voice: 636-477-9117

But some people really want to know in advance.  So here's my opinion.
PCT attracts the big-mileage crowd.  Yeah, we all love the flowers and
views.  In fact, only those who LOVE the wilderness can persevere to the

end.  But a thru-hike is NOT a walk in the park.  2,600+ miles at 2 mph
1,300+ hours on the trail.  That's a lot of flowers and a lot of views!
There's good days and bad; interesting sections and boring ones.  And
if you're the kind of person who would love to go out this weekend and
the most boring section in the worst conditions, that doesn't change the

fact that during a thru-hike, that experience is going to be a low-point
you.  How are you going to get through it?  Like it or not, for many
the answer is hike through it to the point of exhaustion.  Then go to
get up and do it all over again.  I believe the same was probably true
Greg Hummel's hike in '77, only with heavier packs the exhaustion point
sooner.  Today a thru-hiker can blow off 100 miles in a 3-day funk.

But let's say you're different.  You want to finish the PCT AND go
the whole way.  Who will you hike with?  The PCT experience is like a
hopping party.  When your friends move on, you have to choose.  Sure,
there's always someone else behind for you to meet, but living on the
is like history in reverse.  You only know about the people in front of
Trail registers only contain the comments of those ahead of you.  Those
behind you "don't exist."  It's surprising how many people think they're
last thru-hiker on the trail.  And wouldn't it be nice to "catch up"
the people who wrote such inspiring words in the registers?

And all this ignores the more negative factors.  Thru-hikers are by
definition goal oriented.  Many are also gearheads.  Just look at this
So there's an unofficial hierarchy that's hard to ignore.  Are the
hikers with the lightest packs really "better" than anyone else?  Of
not!  But they're hopping off to the next trail town.  Do you want to
up or wait and see who's behind you?

And there's always winter hanging over everyone's head like the sword of

Damocles.  Will you get to Washington only to face deep snow and closed
roads?  The fact is, every northbound PCT thru-hiker faces a choice:
through snow in the Sierra, or hike through snow in Washington, or hike
really fast in between.

I STILL say hike your own hike.

Brian Robinson
PCT '97

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