Health in Action: One Seattleite’s Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail
Our Health in Action series profiles people in the community who are living Actively Northwest. Follow along each week as we profile new people who are committed to living active, healthy lives through fitness and food.
For 2,650 miles, the Pacific Crest Trail spans from Mexico to Canada, winding through California, Oregon and Washington. And Northwest native Scott Peters hiked the entire trail – through mountains, forests and deserts – in 133 days.
We were curious about what compelled him to embark on this long, incredible journey. Read on for our conversation with Scott about his first-hand experience thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
ANW: What inspired you to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail?
Scott: I had already been on extended hiking trips through New Zealand, Patagonia and Norway, and experienced an inexpressible contentment and joy, a clear awareness, and a noticeable change in myself when I was walking in the wilderness. I was working in Denali National Park at the time, and I decided to take the summer of 2010 off to pursue my favorite activity. I moved to Seattle to prepare the winter before.
ANW: Where did you start your journey and where did you end?
Scott: My journey began at the Mexican border near El Campo, California and ended at the Canadian border in the North Cascades of Washington.
ANW: What essentials did you bring along?
Scott: I tried to be as light as possible, with a 15 to 40 pound pack, depending on food, water and fuel. I had an alcohol stove, a bivy sack, a sleeping bag, a thin mat, clothing layers and a book of John Muir quotes.
ANW: Did you face any challenges when hiking the trail?
Scott: There were many challenges. It required a lot of physical and mental endurance to keep doing 25 to 30 mile days nearly every day for months on end. There were bad blisters in the Mohave Desert, many close calls with rattlesnakes, bears and elk, constant hunger and the occasional bad weather. But all of this suffering only made the beauty more rewarding.
ANW: What food did you eat to keep your energy going?
Scott: I decided to “wing it” with food, only sending myself packages ahead of time where absolutely necessary. Otherwise I would hitchhike into town when the trail crossed a road, buy food, and then catch a ride back. I needed a lot of calories to keep going, so you have to get creative with food. Imagine things like peanut butter, Nutella and cream cheese blueberry bagel sandwiches. Even still, I was amazed at the amount I could pack away while in town.
ANW: What was your favorite part of the trail?
Scott: The High Sierras near Mount Whitney and the North Cascades are tied for my favorite. Their light and rugged peaks were incredible.
ANW: What is your #1 tip for someone who wants to hike the Pacific Crest Trail?
Scott: Hike with trekking poles and buy a good atlas. You are in for the best trip of your life.