PCT or AT first?
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Dustin Fritterling
(medylami) - F

Locale: Southeast
PCT or AT first? on 04/29/2009 15:19:08 MDT Print View

I'm planning on thru-hiking the PCT next year (2010). This will be my first thru-hike and I'm wanting opinions on the matter. I understand that most people start out on the AT before hitting the PCT. I live in the east and so I'm not really that excited about doing the AT right now. I did some trail work on the PCT a few years ago and realized that this was where I wanted to be ALL OF THE TIME. What are your thoughts?

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: PCT or AT first? on 04/29/2009 15:28:21 MDT Print View

I think it mostly comes down to what kind of experience you want. The AT is all about having fun for most people with all the town crossings, trail days, etc. The PCT seems to be more about just getting it done.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
pct or at on 04/29/2009 15:50:35 MDT Print View

Well, when I hiked the PCT, one thing I heard a lot from former AT hikers was that you "see more scenery on the PCT in a week than you see in a month on the AT." They don't call it the long green tunnel for nothing. :)

If you want scenery, more solitude, an "easier" trail, etc. hike the PCT. The AT seems like more of a party - trail towns, getting drunk in the shelters, more people, etc. Not my scene!

YMMV.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
PCT or AT first? on 04/29/2009 15:51:55 MDT Print View

Why would you go anywhere but where you want to be all the time? You can always section-hike the AT at your convenience.

Edited by skinewmexico on 04/29/2009 22:59:24 MDT.

Christopher Mills
(Hiker816) - MLife

Locale: Denver
PCT or AT first? on 04/29/2009 16:52:41 MDT Print View

The PCT is completely doable as a first thru-hike. There is no reason you'd need to have hiked the AT first, and many of the people I met on the PCT hadn't yet hiked the AT. The PCT isn't like the CDT, which, I hear, is probably not the best trail to choose for a first thru.

Kent C.
(kent) - M

Locale: High Sierra
PCT or AT first? on 04/29/2009 22:58:33 MDT Print View

>> "...and realized that this was where I wanted to be ALL OF THE TIME."

I haven't done any thru-hiking, but your own words/thoughts make it quite obvious which you should do.

Listen to yourself / trust yourself. You put it in all caps for a reason!! (not offended; just supporting your passion for where you want to be...don't fight it.) Just because you live near the AT doesn't oblige you to hike it first, or ever, if you don't want to.

My 2c.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
PCT on 04/30/2009 08:42:28 MDT Print View

The PCT is the only long distance trail I've ever hiked and I plan to hike it again. Lots of people make it their first thru hike. I even met someone who made it his first backpacking trip ever, and he was from Florida of all places.

You know you have to do it. The PCT has already bitten you. It will call to you the rest of your life. It won't leave you alone.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: PCT or AT first? on 04/30/2009 11:31:24 MDT Print View

"The PCT is completely doable as a first thru-hike."

Agreed. The PCT is the only long hike I've done; I live in the West so it was a natural for me, but it was the one I really wanted to do.

One nice thing about the PCT is, as I understand it, overall trail quality and grade are better than the AT, easier to do higher mileage days. You don't get lots of shelters and pit toilets, but there's still plenty of opportunity for social life if you want that, enough trail towns to make things work out pretty well. Ultimately what some consider the scary bits (rattlesnakes, snowy passes, stream crossings, bears, whatever) aren't that bad if you're reasonably prepared and just use common sense.

Dustin Fritterling
(medylami) - F

Locale: Southeast
Thx on 04/30/2009 13:57:37 MDT Print View

I kinda figured it didn't matter too much. Thanks for the replies and maybe I'll see some of you next year on the trail!