View Full Version : Best books to read about PCT ?

Just Jack
11-05-2008, 12:22
I'm thinking that I may go do the PCT. I would appreciate it if you
could reccommend the 2-3 "must read" books. I realize that I will
need the trail date books. Just thought that it would be helpful to
read how other hikers have managed their hike. Could you mention where these books are available. Thanks for the help.

11-05-2008, 13:06

I would recommend buying a copy of Yogi's PCT Handbook, found at pcthandbook.com

This is THE book for planning, dreaming and preparing. Yogi (who has hiked the trail 3.5 times) has assembled a couple dozen veteran hikers and has them give their opinions on just about everything from resupply to desert/Sierra tips to gear and money needed.

This is a fantastic collection of info I suggest to anyone considering walking the PCT. It also includes an on-trail guide good for handy tips about towns, water, etc.

Spirit Walker
11-05-2008, 13:33
There are several trail books out there, but few that I'd recommend. Karen Berger's Westcliffe book that combines photos and her journal is a good one. See http://www.amazon.com/Along-Pacific-Crest-Trail-Smith/dp/1565792777 The other trail accounts I've read tend to be very whiny and negative and make you wonder why anyone would want to hike the trail. NB I haven't read "Dances with Marmots" yet - it is supposed to be pretty good.

Better, I think, is to try various online journals. You might find someone who actually enjoyed their hike on trailforums.com. My 2000 journal is online too at http://spiriteaglehome.com/contents.html

The Solemates
11-05-2008, 15:02
dances with marmots is good, and will keep you laughing. the author posts on here every once in a while. it wouldnt surprise me if he responds to this thread.

11-05-2008, 23:32
For people's thruhike stories I enjoyed Cactus Eaters by Dan White and Zero Days by Barbara Egbert.

11-06-2008, 00:10
Just finished my PCT thru Sep 21. Erik the Black will have 5 great guidebooks (www.pctatlas.com (http://www.pctatlas.com)) available by kickoff time next year. Two are already available. They replace both the PCT Data Book and the "official" PCT guidebooks with a nice, concise, just-what-you-need book that has elevation profiles, key landmarks, and topo maps. I used the sections that were available this year for Washington and Southern California up to Walker Pass. You also definately need Yogi's book for the town info. Plus it will definitely get you psyched for the trail.

I recommend checking some of the journals on Trailjournals.com. There are many to choose from.

I did buy the "official" guidebooks and data book actually read them the winter before my hike. (The PCT Atlas wasn't yet available.) They are very good for insomnia. They've got verbose trail descriptions reminiscent of the AT Guidebooks along with topos and cover some of the geology, etc. as well as some town info that is for the most part quite out of date. They are frustrating to use as the maps and descriptions are often on different pages. I did use these for the sections that weren't covered by the PCT Atlas.

You'll love the PCT!

Spirit Walker
11-06-2008, 00:28
Handlebar - do you know where he got his maps? Do the elevation profiles reflect real elevation changes, or just the condensed version in the data book? (The data book takes information from the guidebook that doesn't reflect all the ups and downs, just the ones that the author uses as waypoints. i.e. cross a road at 3500', then another one 5 miles later at 3700'. The actual trail goes up and down several times in the five miles, but the data book only lists the two roads' elevations. It was a frequent source of frustration for me.)

I'm reading the Dan White book right now. It is humorous, but it's also an example of the kind of whiny "I hate this awful trail" type book that makes you wonder why anyone would hike it. A lot of trail journalists use that kind of humor to make themselves seem like real heros, but it doesn't inspire me to go out and hike the trail. I like people who actually enjoy their experience - who have some love of the land that they are passing through. It doesn't make me respect the authors much either. The trail simply isn't that hard.