When I was younger, my biggest dream in life was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I was never able to figure out how to tackle that audacious goal, and life moved on, and I set that dream aside. But now Tami Asars has come out with a unique new book about how to hike the Washington part of the trail in smaller chunks (it’s called section hiking), and it’s got me thinking about how to hike the PCT in more manageable pieces over a longer period of my life.
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Washington is a unique style of hiking guide. Instead of a numbered list of great hikes, this book covers the Pacific Crest Trail from the southern trailhead at the Washington border up to Canada. The book is broken up into 7 sections based on chunks that hikers can attempt on shorter vacations. Each section is further broken down into legs, with descriptions of how to get to that part of the trail, mileage, and campsites. Asars has written detailed trail descriptions for every mile, including interesting sights, facts, and even side trails that might be of interest. She tells hikers where to refill water, and where they’ll need to plan ahead with more water. She’s got info about which maps and apps to use, what kinds of permits you’ll need, a brief history of the PCT, planning and preparation, and gear. There are detailed topographic maps for each leg, highlighting camps, water sources, spur roads, connection trails, and sights to see along the way. She describes how many tents can fit in campsites, and if it’s worth going on to the next if you have the energy.
Asars covers the PCT from south to north, as most thru-hikers start at the southern terminus. The sections are labeled differently in her book, but each part has a reference to the official section designations for the entire PCT. The descriptions of the trail, scenery, and obstacles are colorful and informative, making readers want to see for themselves. If I were going to section hike using this book, I’d make copies of each chapter to carry along with me, since the amount of info is so helpful. People who are new to the culture of the PCT and long-distance hiking will find plenty of tips to help them feel more a part of the club.
I’ve really enjoyed flipping through this book. The color photos are beautiful, and are making me think about my plans for next summer. But oh, how to choose which section to do first?