Thru-hiking one of America's monumental trails—making it all the way from one end to the other of the Appalachian Trail, say, or the Pacific Crest Trail—requires careful planning and training. Not only do you need to block out 5 and 7 months away from your job, you need to be in good shape, ready to hike in all weather and properly equipped. But there are rewards: months in the near-wildnerness, hiking through difficult, but stunning terrain.
If you’re not quite ready to quit everything and head for a trailhead this spring, you can enjoy watching someone else do it. The above video is from Halfway Anywhere’s Tyler Fox, a traveler and blogger who made the video as he hiked more than 2,650 miles of trail from California to Canada.
And he’s not alone. Hundreds of people thru-hike the PCT and AT each year. Estimates of exactly how many people have accomplished a thru-hike vary. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy estimates that thousands begin the route each year intending to thru-hike, but only about a quarter actually complete the route from Georgia to Maine.
The Pacific Crest Trail Association estimates that the PCT does a little better with completion rates. While only 700-800 make the attempt each year, about sixty percent of those actually finish. And, according to the PCTA, there are 57 really intense people out there who have walked the whole thing more than once.