Pacific Crest Trail expects more hikers thanks to movie

Updated: 2015-02-20 16:02

By Associated Press(China Daily)

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More hikers are expected on the Pacific Crest Trail this year thanks to the movie Wild, according to the Pacific Crest Trail Association, which preserves and promotes the trail.

The book Wild, which has been a best-seller for nearly two years, led to a small increase in inquiries about the trail, "but the movie seems to have had a much bigger effect", says Jack Haskel, trail information specialist for the Pacific Crest Trail Association. "This past December, compared to last year, our website traffic went up 300 percent."

Requests have also increased for permits for long-distance hikes on the trail.

The PCT starts near Campo, California, outside San Diego at the Mexican border, and stretches 4,264 kilometers through California, Oregon and Washington. It ends in Washington's remote Pasayten Wilderness at the Canadian border.

Since the 1950s, only 3,346 people have reportedly hiked the entire length of the trail, but that number has been rising each year - even before the book and movie brought more attention to the trail.

When Haskel through-hiked the PCT in 2006, 300 people set off to walk the entire route, and about 120 completed it. In 2014, more than 1,000 hikers attempted a through-hike, and about half made it.

Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, hiked 1,770 km of the trail as she recovered from drug abuse, divorce and her mother's death. Reese Witherspoon received an Oscar nomination for best actress for her portrayal of Strayed.

"Wild is the largest media event ever for the PCT and millions are hearing about it now and are being inspired," Haskel says.

Hikers hoping to do the whole trail should typically start in April or May and end in September, walking more than 32 km a day for five months, with a day off now and then to recuperate and re-supply. Timing is critical: Start too early in the spring and you face flooded creeks and snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains. End too late in the season and you'll hit snow in the Northern Cascade mountains.

But you don't have to hike long distances to enjoy the PCT. You can go for a few hours, a day or an overnight. The PCTA website recommends many popular, accessible options, including Mount Baden Powell near Los Angeles; Mount Rainier and Goat Rocks near Seattle; and the Cascade Locks and Bridge of the Gods near Portland, Oregon, where a scene in the movie was shot.

 Pacific Crest Trail expects more hikers thanks to movie

Reese Witherspoon stars in the film,Wild, which is based on a book by the same name, authored by Cheryl Strayed. Associated Press

(China Daily USA 02/20/2015 page14)