FAQ


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What’s a ”thru-hike”?

Thru-hike is when you’re hiking through the entire trail. Which means when it comes to the PCT, all the way from Mexico to Canada. The ones who do this are called thru-hikers. You can also just hike sections of the trail, which is called section-hiking.

How long does it takes?

The record for a thru-hike is 60 days, 17 hours and 12 minutes (Anish 2013), but the average time is between 4-6 months, 5 being the most common.

Are you going to hike all by yourself? Isn’t that dangerous?

I’m doing this trip on my own, but I will be far from lonely on the trail. It’s not like in the movie Wild, for those of you who have seen it. The movie takes place in the 90’s, when there was still pretty few that hiked the trail. In 2014 there were more than 1000 people who hiked it and after the movie the interests has increased even more. I’ve talked to people that have hiked the entire trail and they have told me how they never had to camp all by them self and neither have I the nights I’ve spent on the trail. If something would happen and I’m by myself, I just have to sit down and wait for someone to walk by.

How do you do with food?

There’s some different ways. I’ve split up my hike into 25 sections, each about 100 miles / 160 km, and by every section stop I’ll will resupply with food, clothes, batteries or what ever that I need to fill up. This way, I only need to carry food for 5-7 days at a time. I either buy it in the towns where I stop, or I send a package to myself in advance. There’s also websites that target hikers and where you can order hiker food together with other kinds of gear you need and get it delivered to the most common stops along the trail.

Sierra City

Sierra City, one of the smaller villages along the trail where you can pick up packages or buy food.

How do you do with water?

You take water from natural water sources like streams or creeks, but you have to clean it. You can use a filter or a pump or tablets. On some places there will be so callled water-caches, places where nice people have put out water for hikers. This is most common in southern California where there are limited amounts of natural water sources and where they also could be dried out. You can never rely on the water-caches and in this area you need to stay updated on the water report, pctwater.com. It will tell you about the current status of the water sources. It might happen that you have to carry up to 8 liters of water in the desert, but after that the water sources are more frequent and flowing.

How long do you hike in a day?

It depends on what tempo you want to keep or if you’re in a hurry to get to a certain point. It also varies depending on where you’re going. If there’s much snow or creek crossings, you’ll slow down. My plan is to start slow and easy with 10 miles / 16 km a day, but after 2-3 weeks I hope I’ll be able to do 20 miles / 32 km a day.

How do you navigate?

The trail is pretty easy to follow. There’s one clear trail and you just keep walking on that one. But there’s not that many marks for the trail, sometimes there can be miles between them. So you need to keep your eyes open so you don’t miss out a trail junction, especially in areas where there’s a lot of other trails. If you come to a trial junction, it’s usually very well marked though.

The tool that I use most, is the application Halfmile PCT (which is free to download). It’s an app that tells you exactly where you are on the trail, like ”mile 2106.86” and it also tells how far you are from the next water source, campsite or trail junction etc. If you would get off the trail, the app will notice. Even if it’s just a few feet/meters. And if you wouldn’t find your way back, you just put the app in ”compass mode” and it’ll show you in which direction the trail is. So it feels hard to get lost, but of course I also bring a map and compass just in case. Once the application is downloaded, you won’t need any service for it to work. It works only on GPS so you can use it even in flight mode which saves a lot of batteries.

halfmilemaps

The application Halfmile PCT. Priceless on the trail.

Will you have any service on your phone?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. It usually works in most villages and sometimes even on the trail, but mostly not. But sometime you can get service even in the most remote places, so I always have my running.

How do you charge your phone?

I will have two ”powerbanks” with me. A powerbank is like a compact battery, that can charge my phone up to 5 times (the one I’ve bought). I will aslo have a solar panel just in case.

What do you do if something happens?

I’m bringing a first-aid-kit so I can fix minor injuries myself until I get into town. But if something serious would happen, like breaking a leg and my phone doesn’t work, I just have to relax and sit down and wait for someone to pass by. There’s so many people on the trail, so you shouldn’t have to wait more than a day to meet someone. You can also bring a emergency beacon.

Where do you sleep?

In a tent. On a sleeping pad, in a sleeping bag. Some people doesn’t even carry tents. They sleep under the stars or use a tarp (a big piece of tent fabric) over them. That’s not for me though. I feel that I want my own space without bugs or insects. Sleep is important after a hard day to recover, so for me it’s worth the extra weight.

Where you put up your tent is different. There’s campsites, which are basically just flat spots in the wild. Then there’s campgrounds, which are bigger and usually also for RVs and caravans. These cost some to stay at, but then you also get access to toilets and showers. In some of the towns you’re passing, there’s also hotels or lodges and some people let you put up your tent in their garden.

How much do you carry? How heavy is your pack?

At the moment I have a 55 liter backpack, which has been working fine for me. My base weight (packing without water and food) on my latest hike was 29 lb / 13 kg, but my goal is to get down to 22 lb / 10 kg, before I hit the trail.

packning

Are there any wild animals? 

There is! Rattlesnakes, marmots, black bears, cougars, squirrels etc. And of course it would be scary to meet a bear, but animals are usually more afraid of us people than we are of them. It’s just if you happen to scare or surprise them, that they eventually could get aggressive. I’ve never heard of a bear meeting on the trail that ended badly. The animals that people worry about the most are marmots and mice. They can easily gnaw through your tent to steal your food.

Ain’t you scared?

Well, both yes and no. Of course I’m worried about some things, but I’m worried about things at home too. You just have to get over them. Just as when you’re home. When it comes to animals, reading about their behavior, how you read their signs or how you don’t end up in a dangerous situation with them in the first place, is all part of the preparations for the trail. If you’re scared of something, the best thing is to read and learn more about it. Then you’ll know what to do if you find yourself in that situation and you’ll feel a lot safer. I’ve also noticed that I am much more scared at home than I am on the trail. When you’re on the trail, you can’t worry about what might happen, all you care about is what happens at the moment, like where’s the next water source or how far is it to my next stop.

What do you do if you meet a bear?

If you see a bear further up the trail and it doesn’t notice you, the best thing to do is to slowly back and wait until the bear leaves before you continue. If it’s not on the actual trail and far away, you can also calmly keep moving. If it notices you, do the same, but talk with a low, calm voice. Try not to make eye contact. If the bear gets curious, talk louder and calmly bang your poles toghter if it gets closer. The last thing you should do is run. There’s bear-spray (like stronger pepper spray) that you can buy and use against the bear, but most people thinks its unnecessary and it’s a big risk that you might hurt yourself with it instead.

The best thing is to avoid meeting a bear in the first place. Don’t move silent. Talk to yourself and sing. Let the bear here that your coming and it will take off before you see it.

What are your biggest fears?

Bears. I know that they are not that dangerous and that I should be happy if I’m lucky (yes, lucky they say…) to meet one, but I know that I will be really nervous if I do!

Except that, I think that other humans is probably what worries me the most. Hikers are good people and you don’t walk miles into the woods to commit a crime. But the people that you meet on campgrounds for example, people that drive from the city to get drunk in their RVs, that’s another thing. But I’m not more afraid of them there, than I am at home.

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Me who runs the blog

... is Linda Åkerberg. I'm a 32 years old photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden. Read more about me here

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I dit it! Lobuche Peak, 6119m ✔️❤️ One thing that I've learned through my adventures is how much of our physical strength that is actually mental. We think that we can't do something and therefor we can't. We give up before we have even tried. If we only would dare to try we would be surprised how much we're actually capable of.

One thing that I really wanted to do during my trip to Nepal was climbing a mountain. I picked Lobuche Peak at 6119m, just around the corner from Everest. I had never climbed such a big mountain before, but I really wanted to give it a try.

Unfortunately, 5 weeks before my trip started I had to go through surgery for cervical cell changes. It was not a big thing, but I was told I wasn't aloud to do any kind of training the before my trip in order for my body to heal properly.

This was of course devastating for me. To be able to handle the lower amount of oxygen over 6000m I was in the middle of a really intense workout schedule.  Now I had to stop.

I asked myself what should I do. Should I cancel the plans of climbing the mountain and forget about my dream? I decided not to. I wanted to see how far my own will could take me up the mountain even if I wasn't in the best physical shape.

And this morning I got the answer - my will took me all the way to the top! Such an amazing feeling standing there realizing how much I'm actually capable of, just if I put my mind to it! 💥
The view from this mornings climb to Kala Patthar, 5550 m, was totally amazing! A 360 view over all the peaks around during the time of sunrise. 
In this pic: one of my absolute favorites, Ama Dablam. ❤️ A good advice for all of you planning doing Kala Patthar yourself: dress warm and don't forget extra warm socks and gloves. It's freezing before the sun hits you (which might take a while since it rises behind the highest mountain in the world)!
I made it!!! 💟
All the way from Jiri through the Nepalese jungle, up and pass Lukla and finally through the rocky landscape to Everest Base Camp at 5364m! This i did all on my own, without any help from porters or guides or even the company of friends. 12 days, 182 km and I don't now how many meters of altitudes in total. Feel so proud and happy right now! ❤️💪 But my adventure isn't over yet. Tomorrow I will climb Kala Patthar and the day after that I'll head up to Lobuche high camp from where I will attempt to summit the over 6000m Lobuche Peak! Check out my Instagram story feed to see how it goes! 😘
Today I felt the altitude in a bad way for the first time. After reaching the village of Lobuche my head started aching real bad, but after some rest, water and a short hike up to higher altitude and then back down again I felt much better! It's amazing how your body can adapt if you just gives it time. ❤️
Pic from the short hike with rests of the Khumbu Glacier in the background.
Tomorrow I'm heading up for base camp! 🏔️
Today I walked higher than I ever been before, up to 5090m! Everything went well (even though it was hard) and it feels very good since Everest Base Camp is "only" about 274 m higher!
Now I'm back in Dingboche at 4400m. The hike today was part of the acclimatizing process where you slowly expose your body to higher altitudes. By going up, then back down again your body will find it easier next time you go higher.
Pic from the top of the climb today with views over Ama Dablam.
Today's hike up to Dingboche was very different than the hike yesterday. The clouds were low, the rain kept pouring down and the huge mountains that's surrounds me did not show all. But it was still so beautiful!
As the trail kept getting higher and higher, the landscape changed as well, from green rhododendron forests to rocky and sandy with less and less vegetation. It certainly feels that I'm getting higher. Now at 4400m I'm close to higher than I ever been before.
These guys are so strong. I sometimes struggling with my 15 kg+ back pack (even though I start to get use to it by now) but the porters here carry well over 50 kg, often walking in just plain sandals.
It makes me think about how worried we westerners are about weight and that we have "the right" kind of gear. It seems pretty clear that what you have works just fine - so don't let the lack of proper gear stopping you from getting out in nature!
Getting up early is definitely something that will be rewarding at the Everest Base Camp Trek. You will get clear skies = beautiful views before the clouds comes in, the temperature will be cooler and you can also get the trail for yourself if you're lucky!
Today's hike up to Tengboche was really something else, this is hiking at its best! ☀️
The Everest Base Camp Trek is hiked by tens of thousands each year. The trail between Jiri and Lukla only by a thousand. And it really was something else. I didn't meet many hikers at all, but one of the days I was happy to get company by this cutie. She followed me for hours before she suddenly decided to go back to where she came from. A man told me she use to follow hikers to make sure they not get lost. ❤️

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