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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It’s easy to forget, that when climbing a mountain, reaching the top means that you’re only halfway through your climb. The way down can be at least as heard (or sometimes even harder) than they way up. This is important to keep in mind when climbing. This and much more will be part of my talk about Kilimanjaro at @naturkompaniet (Hantverkargatan) in Stockholm tonight at 18.30! Drop by if your interested in learning more! ☀️
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Pic from my descent of Kilimanjaro in March with Mt. Meru in the background. Maybe I’ll climb that too next time... 😁
#mykilimanjarostory .
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#mountkilimanjaro #kilimanjaro #mykilimanjaroadventure #climbingmountains #mtmeru #futuregoals #dreambig #neverstopexploring
Uhuru Peak - The top of Kilimanjaro - is located 5895 meters above sea level and is the highest point of Africa, which also makes Kilimanjaro one of the #sevensummits .
Uhuru means ‘freedom’ in Swahili and the peak got its name when Tanzania was declared a independent country in 1964. 🇹🇿 #mykilimanjarostory
The last stretch to the top of Kilimanjaro. To the right you can see the people surrounding the monument that marks the summit and to the left you can see the southern icefields. Once, the glacier reached all the way to the trail but now it’s far away. Scientists predict the glaciers on Kilimanjaro will be all gone by 2060. It’s sad that even on such a remote place as the top of Africa, you want to get away from the effects of global warming...💔
#mykilimanjarostory
Right. Left. Right. Left. Right...
The last stretch up to the top of Kilimanjaro after Stella Point sure was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and all I could think of was my next step.  I’ve never been so captured in the moment and at the same time so stubborn to not giving up. 
Luckily I was once or twice able manage to remember to pic up my phone and take some pictures. This is one of the few I have from the last stretch to the top.
#mykilimanjarostory #nevernevernevergiveup #iphonephotography
Mawenzi Peak, the third of the three volcanoes that is part of the Kilimanjaro massive. With its 5149 meters above sea level, it’s not only the second highest point on Kilimanjaro, it’s also the third highest point in Africa! (After Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru Peak and Mt Kenya.) Pic from the crater rim just an hour or so after sunrise.
#mykilimanjarostory
Did you know that you can get a certificate that you climbed Kilimanjaro even if you don’t get to the top? If you’re reaching Gilman’s Point at 5685m (only passed if you’re doing the Rongai or Marangu Route) or Stella Point at 5756m, you also get one. The golden summit certificate you only get if you make it all the way to Uhuru Peak at 5895m though. .
For me the hardest stretch on the summit day was up to Stella Point. After that the trail gets much less steep and the fact that you can actually see the Uhuru Peak makes the rest of the climb - I wouldn’t say easy, but at least - much easier. Getting to this point also felt really good, it was here that I for the first time knew that I was gonna make it!
#mykilimanjarostory
Sunrise seen from Kilimanjaro during my summit push.
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When you’re climbing a mountain, it’s normal to start your summit attempt very early in the morning. On Kilimanjaro, I started at midnight!
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So why start so early in the middle of the night?
🗻The climb from base camp and back took about 11 hours and you wanna do this while the snow and ground is still frozen and hard. That makes it easy to walk on and you won’t have to worry about sliding around. 🗻The sun and heat is also a reason. The air is thin on the top and once the sun has rised it can be very hot - but you still need to cover yourself to not get burned. 🗻A third reason is that you get to watch the magic sunrise from the top of Africa. Maybe the best reason of them all. 😍
#mykilimanjarostory
One of the most well known plants on Kilimanjaro is the groundsel Dendrosenecio. Walking down in the fog from Lava Tower, these gigantic plants appeared for the first time on the Machame Route and they felt both spooky and so pretty at the same time.💕
#mykilimanjarostory
Patience - one of the most valuable traits of a hiker or climber.
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Yesterday I gave some advice to a guy that hikes the PCT this year. After just 40 miles in he started complaining about his shoes. That he got blisters and wanted new ones. My best advice to him was to take some days off and then continue forward and not do too many miles a day. To let his body slowly adapt to the new conditions. Not buying new shoes. .
The same is it with altitude. There is no easy solution. To be able to handle it, you have to let you’re body slowly adapt to the new altitude and the less amount of oxygen it gets.
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Climbing Kilimanjaro can be hard because many of the routes are done in few days. One benefit with choosing the Machame Route is that you get one acclimatization day on your way up. After Shira Cave Camp (3750m) you go up to Lava Tower at 4600m before you’re heading down to your next camp, Barranco camp at 3900m. This gives you’re body time to adjust to the altitude and increases the odds making it to the top!
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This pic is from my way up to Lava Tower. I was lucky to have snow there which is not always the case! Can you see the small people in the lower left corner?!
#mykilimanjarostory

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