Halfway through the PCT Catching up with Ambassador Erika Courtney

Hello from the PCT! You may remember me from my last blog post about 7 days before I left for my trip. I am now just over halfway done with this crazy trek. I’ve successfully completed the desert and Sierra sections of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Due to fires in Northern California, my boyfriend and I decided to skip ahead to Oregon and come back to do NorCal in the fall when the fires die down. The smoke had been pretty terrible on the trail and it made it hard to breathe and hike. There were days where ash was falling from the sky while we walked.

Summiting Mt. Whitney, the highest Mountain in the contiguous United States.

Over the next two months, we will hike Oregon (455 miles) and Washington (503 miles) and flip back down to California afterwards to complete our hike. This was not our original plan, but out here you just have to roll with the punches!

Every day I wake up around 5am, eat some breakfast, throw on my Terraventures and hit the trail by 6am. Surprisingly, I don’t feel sore anymore! My body is becoming used to the long days it has endured. Some days I feel like a machine.

In Oregon the terrain levels out a bit and it’s not uncommon for hikers to push 30+ mile days. I’m excited for a change in scenery and elevation and to be able to cruise for a while. Climbing mountain passes and being above 10,000 feet everyday in the Sierra was not easy. In the desert, we were able to hike 20 miles or more a day no problem, even though we were still getting our hiker legs. In the Sierra, everything just took way longer. To do 15 miles sometimes took us all day. There were river crossings and snow fields that also slowed us down.

900 miles down…

I’m happy to report that my shoes are holding up great. I get about 500-600 miles per pair even though I walk a marathon (or close to it) every single day with 25-30 pounds on my back. I’ve been especially thankful for the rock plate in the Terraventures as the Sierra section had some extremely rocky terrain and the upcoming section of trail will be covered in sharp lava rocks. My next pair of shoes will be shipped to me soon and I’ll be happy to have the brand-new support and cushion on the rougher terrain. Foot fatigue is real out here without proper protection!

My main focus these days has been trying to stay positive despite hard times. I’ve been hiking for a little over 3 months now and there have been times I wish I could just go home and relax! It’s difficult to stay motivated and challenge yourself day after day, but the reality is that nobody is going to get you to that next stop but yourself. I have been blown away by the amount of support from fellow hikers on trail and individuals on social media. Thank you all for rooting for me!