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.

To the swedish site:

http://www.wilderness-stories.com/sv

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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Today's kayak trip along Fyrisån in Uppsala was really great! Now we have entered the city and will be at Fyristorget for some hours to serve food and collect money for @musikhjalpen. Step by if you're in town! ❤️ #paddlaförmusikhjälpen
As the first snow fell over Stockholm and Uppsala yesterday, kayaking might not be the first thing on people's minds. Many we met so far looks at us like we're crazy doing this now but its actually not that bad at all! With the right clothing and gear even the (what we call) worst conditions can turn out really amazing!
Me in the kayak in Fyrisån, Uppsala 🇸🇪
Today 'Paddla för Musikhjälpen' started in Stockholm! And what a awesome day we had! We got everything from sun, snow and hail to dramatic clouds over the city skyline.

Stockholm might be known to many for its night- and citylife, but the fact is that's its a very good city for outdoor activities as well! The whole city is built upon islands which makes it perfect for kayaking and todays route was 10k around one of ones in central Stockholm, Kungsholmen. 
Now we're going to be in Kungträdgården till 20.00 and then we will hang out in the bar at Downtown Camper by Scandic!

Step by, hang out, talk adventure and make a donation to Musikhjälpen!! http://bossan.musikhjalpen.se/insamling/paddla-for-musikhjalpen-med-explore
NEW BLOG POST!
After reaching my goal Everest Base Camp and the summit of Lobuche Peak, my journey changed a bit. Having finished what I came for I could now just relax and enjoy my achievements and the beautiful surroundings.
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Read more about my hike down to a Lukla in my new blog post at wilderness-stories.com (link in bio) 🗻 ☀️
This is Sofia Johansson /@fjalldrottningen. When Sofia was younger she dreamed of getting the title Fjälldrottning - "Mountain queen", a title you get when you climb 7 specific peaks in Norway in 7 days.
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There was just one problem, she couldn't climb. But instead of letting that fact stop her, she did something about it! She applied for @adventureacademysweden with the project and got accepted. During her education she learned the basics of climbing and continued learning on here spare time. Within a year, she not only had learned how to climb, she also managed to climb the peaks, got the title and fulfilled her dream!
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So next time you come up with something that stops you from fulfilling your dream, think of Sofia and do something about it instead of giving up! ☀️
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Read Sofia full story at the website (link in bio) section #MYWILDERNESSSTORY!
📸: Andreas Karlsson
Between 11-17 December I will participate in a charity project called PADDLA FÖR MUSIKHJÄLPEN.
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During this week, me and a bunch of other outdoor enthusiasts will visit seven places between Stockholm and Umeå to set out on kayaking day trips and to collect money for @musikhjalpen
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The trips will take place between approximately 10:00 - 15:00 each day and this is the places we'll be visiting:
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11th Dec - Stockholm 
12th Dec - Uppsala 
13th Dec - Bollnäs 
14th Dec - Sundsvall 
15th Dec - FriluftsByn / Docksta 
16th Dec - Örnsköldsvik 
17th Dec - Umeå
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After the day trip we'll continue to raise money on the streets in town and @ellesutemat will serve vegetarian chili.
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You are more than welcome to join us on the paddling trips (own kayak required) or just come and hang out in town in the afternoon/evening! Step by, hang out, talk adventure, eat well and make a donation to @musikhjalpen. Together we can make a difference! ❤️
This summer I found myself a new passion - Kayaking. Now I'm incredibly proud to announce that I will be part of the charity project "Paddla för musikhjälpen" this year! Between 11-17 December, me and a bunch of other outdoor enthusiasts will set out on several kayaking trips at various places by the Swedish east coast to raise money for the charity event @musikhjalpen : "Children are not for sale". ❄️🛶❄️
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Read more about the project in my latest blog post at wilderness-stories.com (link in bio)
Ever been wondering what it's like to climb a mountain? Now you can read my story about my climb of Lobuche Peak, 6119 m, at my blog! Wilderness-stories.com (link in bio) 🗻
One year ago today, my journey towards one of my greatest adventures so far started. It was the day I decided to apply for a spot in the 300 km dogsled adventure FJÄLLRÄVEN POLAR! A spot that i later got! 
Today @fjallravenofficial opened the application for next years expedition. Maybe it's your turn this time!?💕 ❄️🐺❄️💕
Read more and apply at polar.fjallraven.com!

And remember, if you're not applying, it will never be your turn. You have to start your own adventure. ✨

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