The Pacific Crest Trail, or the PCT as it's commonly called, has been an on-and-off-again fascination of mine since I was little. This year it turned 50.
Two books were crucial in sparking my interest in the PCT, a faux leather bound trail guide of my dad's (circa 1972) and a memoir by Eric Ryback, The High Adventure of Eric Ryback: Canada to Mexico on Foot, which I might have actually picked out during a claustrophobic visit to my neighborhood bookmobile (also circa the early seventies). The thought of spending four months hiking down the entire length of the Cascade mountains from Canada to Mexico was pretty enticing for a kid who loved the outdoors and didn't mind spending time alone. Though I've hiked portions of the trail at various times since then, my dream of hiking the whole trail is still unrealized.
Thru-Hiking the PCT is much more doable and common these days, thanks to a myriad of technological advances. Can you imagine doing it before the age of cell phones? The Pacific Crest Trail Association keeps a running list of books about the trail, many of which are accounts of people who've actually hiked the whole thing. A great many of these books are self-published, again thanks to technological advances and tools such as CreateSpace. Of course, Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, is the most popular of these accounts. Here's a sampling of some of the others: