We are Brian and Martina, two Scottish based walkers and climbers and in 1998 we decided to attempt to walk across the United States from the Mexican border to Canada. You can see pictures of the other outdoor things we get up to here. The route we aimed to follow was the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which, at 2,600 miles in length, is one of the hardest but also most magnificent long distance walks in the world. Being keen on camping wild, that is carrying a tent or shelter away from the road and preferably high onto mountains, the US long distance trails looked like an exciting adventure and one where we could enjoy an extended six month journey of continuous hiking. There are three main established US long distance trails:
- Appalachian Trail (AT)– 2,000miles on the east side of the US
- Continental Divide Trail (CDT)– up to 3,000miles along or near the crest of the US Rockies
- Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)– 2,600miles along the western mountain ranges
The AT is the most popular and travels through forest for the most part. The CDT is tougher and not entirely complete as a trail with fewer hikers attempting it. The PCT appealed as it meanders through a great variety of landscapes from desert in Southern California, the volcanic chain in the north, the Cascade mountains in Washington and the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains in California (an area we had already visited in 1996 on a climbing holiday to Mt Whitney and Yosemite valley). I had a read a book by an English hiker, Chris Townsend in the 1980’s, (The Great Backpacking Adventure) which described his journey on the PCT in 1982 as well as other hikes and this more or less set the seed in my mind that I would like to take six months off work and attempt it.