Thru-Hiking America’s Pacific Crest Trail

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Jean Hacquart, a Salomon employee, thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the western United States, from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. It took him three and a half months to hike almost 4,300 kilometers and climb 147,000 meters in elevation. This is a short story from a book he wrote about his adventure.

It’s February of 2016 and it’s snowing hard here in Chamonix tonight. I’m lying in my bed, turning nervously. It’s 3 a.m. and I should be sleeping, but my mind is far away from the Alps. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that three months from now, I’ll be under a tent at night, in the middle of nowhere, alone in the Mojave Desert, surrounded by noises I don’t know among new landscapes. There might even be a few rattlesnakes saying hi from time to time.

For the last four months, I’ve been planning my project to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the western United States, and the trip is fast-approaching. I’m three months from landing in San Diego. I’ve spent countless hours choosing the best departure date, learning the climate specificities of each region and gone online to compare every tent that has ever been made. I even learned the imperial system, which might have been the hardest part of my trip.

I’ve been training, too. Nearly every day, I’ve been hiking, running or ski-touring—all with the Mont Blanc watching over me. I’ve also discovered what stretching and muscle building meant. Every morning and every night, I’ve forced myself to follow a specific routine in order to be in perfect shape on May 13th, the day I would be standing on the border of Mexico and the U.S. I’ve also prepared my mind for the low days. How will I react when I want to quit? What will help me find the courage to do an extra mile when I’m out of water?