Category: Planning

Earlier Start, New Home City, and Permits

We’ve decided to start hiking a bit earlier than we originally planned, for a few reasons. The early start will allow us to walk fewer miles in the beginning of the trip and more gradually increase our pace. It has been a very low snow year for California, so starting a week early shouldn’t cause any snow challenges. Also, we finished our tour of possible new cities (more thoughts on that below). Finally, as you might guess, we’re antsy to hit the trail. Our new plan is to start hiking north from the US/Mexican border on April 19th. That’s less than a week from now!

We had a great tour of potential cities to live in after we finish the hike. Each place had its own unique feel and culture, and we’re glad we took the time to explore them firsthand. The place that clicked with us best was Fort Collins, Colorado. The friendly, down to earth people, good bike lanes, lively walkable downtown, proximity to the mountains, and art scene were all major positives for us. We are very excited to call Fort Collins our new home after hiking the PCT!

Sunset in the Old Town area of Fort Collins

Although we just picked a new home city, the woods and mountains of the Pacific Crest Trail will be our home for the next five months. We received our permits from the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) allowing us to camp anywhere along the trail. We are very grateful to the PCTA for coordinating with the many National Park, State Park, and Forest Service organizations to make this permit process so simple.

Food Resupply Boxes

Fortunately we will not need to carry five months of food on our backs as we hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Instead we will resupply every few days at a town, post office, or small business which holds packages for hikers. This approach required a great deal of planning and preparation, which was by turns exciting and monotonous.

Chris tests out a powdered drink mix

On the advice of many previous thru hikers, we are striving for variety in our trail diet. Thus, while planning, we taste tested numerous meal options. Drawing on our knowledge of thru hike nutrition, and in conjunction with our food planning math spreadsheets, we created a massive grocery list. We have just updated our Food page with many details about our food choices. You can access the page by clicking the “Food” link at the top of our blog.

Although we were organized before heading to the grocery store, we still spent several hours in the bulk food section. Shopping for variety while purchasing a large quantity of food takes time. It was exhilarating to see our extensive planning turn into piles of food in a shopping cart. We were surprised to realize how much food we will eat over the next five months. That really hit home when we saw all the food in one place.