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[pct-l] PCT vs. AT

Whistler wrote:
<<Someone seemed to be downplaying the AT in an earlier note - making light
of Earl's 50th anniversary hike... True he is in his 70's, but will outhike
most of the ones in their 20's.. With Earl having been the first man to
complete the AT as it is now, I personally think it is one great
accomplishment, as the AT is not a "cake walk".<<

Of course, hiking either the PCT or the AT is an accomplishment. But it's
been too long since I got into a debate about which trail is tougher to
complete.  About two years since completing my PCT thru-hike, I now miss
talking to all those AT vererans who hype the AT and talk about how much
easier it is to hike the PCT!   But I always wonder why it is that hundreds
manage to hike the AT every year when much fewer than 100 make it end-to-end
(without flip-flopping) on the PCT.  I wondered why in '96 a number of the
east-coasters who had thru-hiked the AT in a previous year, and seemed so
confident that the PCT would be a piece of cake, then dropped out of their
thru hike out west, usually in the desert.

I have hiked only a few days on the AT, and it sure was steep in places!
And I managed to survive this trauma.  But I sure didn't have to worry about
route-finding, thanks to those white stripes defacing trees and rocks along
the way.  Mostly, I love the PCT for the variety of the terrain and weather,
the diversity of the uses of the land, the remoteness in most places, the
lack of white graffiti-style blazes, the wilderness, and yes, the
well-graded trails that allow me to focus my attention to the amazing
panoramic views.  And on the PCT, the hiker doesn't have to endure days of
hiking the forested tunnel of tree canopy, wondering what's to be seen
beyond the foliage!  And thankfully, rodent-infested shelters along the PCT
are a rare novelty.  The PCT is also a place where you can exist without a
trail name and still retain respect among your peers!

roger carpenter

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