Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Which one first?


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Michael Freyman
(mfreyman) - MLife
Which one first? on 12/15/2005 16:55:43 MST Print View

AT or PCT? And why?

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Which one first? on 12/15/2005 17:51:13 MST Print View

It depends on where you live, have you hiked either of the two trails?

I will pay attention to this thread closely, because I one day plan to thru hike the AT. I chose the the AT first because I have lived close to it all my life, and have hiked it often and am most comfortable on the AT terrain and elevetion of east coast trail. (the only trails I have ever hiked excluding a few in Utah but those were only day hikes)

I liked the way you said "first" I hope to hike both as well, but dont forget the CDT.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Which one first? on 12/15/2005 18:34:19 MST Print View

I would recommend the AT first as sort of "training wheels." Some reasons... One, because you have many more resources to help you organize and prepare. Two, less technical skill needed. Three, logistically easier. Four, the hiking season is longer, which could make your scheduling easier. Five, greater camaraderie and social scene if you're interested. But easy to escape if you're not.

Most importantly, Six: From the bits of the PCT I've seen in person and photos, if you do the PCT first, you'll be absolutely spoiled with the scenery. I imagine it would be very hard to meet that high standard.

But it also depends on where you live, as RyF mentioned. I think if you plan on a Triple Crown, doing them "in order" [AT, PCT, CDT] makes sense in terms of escalating challenge and responsibility. On the other hand, if you have no intention or opportunity to do all three, and you only have one chance, I'd choose the PCT.
-Mark

Edited by mlarson on 12/15/2005 18:38:02 MST.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Which one first? on 12/15/2005 18:46:05 MST Print View

Ditto Mark Larson's analysis. He hit it dead on.

However, be advised that the AT is not an *easy* trail. It has more elevation change than the PCT and it can kick your butt every day. Those mountains are not tall, but they start close to sea level. On the PCT, you run the ridges and go around the peaks. On the AT, you run the ridges and go over the peaks. Dern near every one of them.

Also, the AT can be relatively easy or more challenging, depending on the pace you set and the direction you travel. North-bound (NoBo) GAME (Georgia to Maine) is somewhat easier than SoBo MAGE because you have more time and don't hit the infamous Bugs of the North at their peak.

The AT scenery is not great. You will feel treasure views when you find them. The AT flora and fauna are wonderful. And the trail people are always interesting. In my limited experience, on the PCT you spend a lot of time lonesome on the High Lonesome.

Edited by vickrhines on 12/15/2005 18:47:24 MST.