Escape The Crowds On The P.C.T.
If you’re planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (P.C.T.) the new, stricter permitting lottery has most likely caught your attention. The National Park Service and National Forest Service are desperately trying to spread out the crowds of people clamoring to thru-hike the P.C.T. Over the past 5 years, the trail has exploded in popularity and the new stresses put on the fragile wilderness ecosystems are easy to see. Trash, fecal matter, and packed soil mark America’s newfound love for the outdoors. If you are looking for a wilderness thru-hike but want to escape the crowds, it’s time to be a thru-hiking pioneer and hike a different trail.
The Best Long Distance Backpacking Trails Are Still Undiscovered
The P.C.T. is a fucking dope hike. Stretching from Mexico to Canada, it traverses the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Cascades. But America has plenty of other gorgeous scenery that you haven’t even heard of! This article will focus on convincing you to hike the Idaho Centennial Trail and if you’re looking for an even larger challenge, the Wild West Trail. But hey, if you want to be a sheep and follow the herd, line-up for your permits that allow you to be outside. I hear California is a lovely place to wait in-line for a hike.
Top 5 Reasons To Hike the Idaho Centennial Trail Instead of The P.C.T.
1. You Are One Of The First
Less than 20 people have hiked the Idaho Centennial Trail. If you take on this challenge, everyone else will literally be following in your footsteps. And if you’re brave enough to hike the entire Wild West Trail, you would only be the second human to ever complete it.
2. Ultimate Wilderness
America’s wilderness interior is the largest intact temperate ecosystem on the planet. You will experience the darkest night skies in the States and drink from pristine water sources. There will be wild animal sightings and best of all, solitude. Days and potentially weeks will go by without seeing another human.
3. Have A Real Adventure That Still Has Unknown Variables
If you’re looking for guidebooks and Pinterest pins, this is not the hike for you. There are no signs, little to no trail maintenance, and trail angels? Never heard of them. You won’t have cell phone reception and every day the sun rises, your adventure will restart anew. No weather reports, no trail rumors, nothing but your own wits. Follow the ridgeline, cross that stream, keep walking north because that might be the only direction you have.
4. There Are No Crowds
Looking for a hike where you don’t have to step in discarded toilet paper? Do you want to experience the wilderness as it was when settlers first came to North America? No campsites, no stoners bathing in streams, nobody is out there. It’s just you and the bears. And they’re not even friendly!
5. No Permission Required
Can you experience freedom while waiting in line to grab a permit for the privilege of sleeping outside? If you’re seeking a lifestyle that celebrates the individual then the PCT and other crowded long trails are not the outlets. Seek out the dark spots on the map to discover your true potential as a human.
The Idaho Centennial Trail Isn’t Long Enough? Hike The Wild West Trail!
For you thru-hikers out there dismissing the I.C.T. because of its paultry 927-mile length. Don’t stop there! Continue eastward along the Wild West Trail. Put your hunger for miles to the real test as you traverse Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Still not challenging enough?
Become a true pioneer and make your own trail! Hike your own hike and connect mountain ranges that rarely see humans. Turn America into your playground. Leave the National Scenic Trails to the sheep and become the lion that you know you are.