How Two College Students Prepared for the PCT Hike

PCT Mountain picture while hiking

Jay van Biljouw and Robert Uhalde started the 2,659-mile PCT hike in June 2016, beginning 700 miles north of the southern end and hiking northwards toward Canada. The trek’s normal span is 5 months and it’s possible that the duo are still hiking the trail. You’re probably wondering how these two backpackers are preparing for this arduous trip across California, Oregon and Washington?

Training for the PCT Hike

Uhalde and van Biljouw expects to carry 30-pound packs during the trip. To ramp up their physical stamina, the two buddies take regular hikes around Mount Diablo—one of the tallest peaks in the San Francisco Bay Area. The highest point reaches 3,800 feet and experiences are variety of seasonal weather conditions including heat, rain, wind and snow. At the summit, other far away mountain peaks are visible: the Sierras, Sentinel Dome in Yosemite and Lassen Peak. This mountain provides a perfect opportunity to prepare for the tumultuous elevation challenges along the PCT.

Food for the PCT Hike

The two college students will pack a variety of light-weight protein-rich and carbohydrates foods:

  • Protein foods for the PCT: tuna, peanut butter and beans.
  • Carbohydrates foods for the PCT: tortillas, trail mix, candy bars, pasta and rice.

Uhalde and van Biljouw plan to resupply in towns along the way. Friends and family members can mail boxes of food to special storage units located in the high Sierras and in Northern California just before the Oregon border.

Gear for the PCT Hike

The duo will carry 28-ounce tents and 21-ounce sleeping bags, along with 4-5 pairs of lightweight trail runner shoes. Although details about their gear is sparse, you can read more about common backpacking gear. Uhalde and van Biljouw will likely include items that are mentioned in that article. For navigation along the PCT, they will utilize an iPhone digital map and keep in touch with family friends with a satellite device.

Why the Hike?

Robert Uhalde and Jay van Biljouw have a passion for backpacking. They’re not complete newbies to thru-hiking. Uhalde hiked 2,000 miles of the Continental Divide Trail while van Biljouw completed the 215-mile John Muir Trail. The students’ goals: raise money for a mental health charity through Hike for Mental Health, donate 20% of the proceeds to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Pacific Crest Trail Association and to clear their own minds.

I’ve been thinking about this for so long; I’m really excited to start,” van Biljouw said. “I’m more comfortable being in the wilderness than back at home. Maybe it’s because there’s less stuff to worry about. You don’t have to worry about filing your tax return, writing your email. You get up, you walk and you go to sleep at the end of the day. That’s it. (source)

Let’s hope the pair completes their PCT hike!

Leave a Reply