Virtually Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in Preparation for the Actual Thru Hike

I really want to hike the 2,600 mile long Pacific Crest Trail. As a novice backpacker, who is scared of the dark, I’m intimidated by the amount of research and preparation this trail requires. I don’t have a date set for this 5 month long hike, but I want to get the ball rolling, so I’ve devised a plan!
Phase 1
-Get in shape!!
Virtually “hike” the PCT by daily walking, hiking or biking 16 miles a day (that’s the average pace of a thru hiker on the PCT). Mark my daily progress on a trail map. This will also help me to visualize me actually hiking the trail.
-Get an Overview of the PCT.
For each 16 miles hiked, learn about that section of the trail. Ideally listen to a podcast on the subject while I’m exercising. Spend no more than 30 minutes a day on research (I can easily spend hours making spreadsheets and that’s not where I need to be at this moment.)
-Get over my fear of camping solo. Do this by camping as much as possible before I hike the PCT (date unknown. Perhaps two years out?) I might hike with someone else- I’m not sure yet.
-Start saving money for the hike.
Phase 2
-Seriously save money.
Either get a second job or a better paying job. I’ll need about $1 per mile, plus funds to cover my expenses while traveling (health insurance, cell phone bill, savings to come home to, etc.)
-Keep exercising and camping.
Phase 3
-Once I have the money for the trip, get a permit to hike the PCT.
-Learn about the specifics of the PCT. What do I need to know? I love surprises and winging it, but the wilderness isn’t that forgiving, so I’ll do my research.
-Figure out the logistics of the hike: How many miles do I expect to hike a day, when will I take rest days, where do I plan to resupply?
– Review my gear and buy and test any missing gear. Keep in mind my base weight.
-Figure out the food situation.
Once I have an itinerary, either make my own food or hire a company to send me food. Then box it all up with necessary gear (like new shoes!)
-Keep exercising and camping
-Then it’s the most challenging and rewarding part, actually hiking the PCT!
Am I missing any major steps?

2 thoughts on “Virtually Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in Preparation for the Actual Thru Hike”

  1. I am quite impressed by your plan.
    Sounds like you are on your way to making this dream an accomplished feat.

    I don’t have any advice as I am only a walker. But I offer my encouragement and look forward to reading about your PCT journey.

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