Adventure Upgrade: Thru-Hike a Long Trail

Prep for success, plan ahead, and stay healthy to pull off a month-plus trek.

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Reader Adam Ricketts, 27, Culver, OR

» Problem “I’m planning to hike the PCT in 2012. Any surefire advice for completing the hike, or resupplying on the trail?”

Expert Jack Haskel, trail information specialist for the Pacific Crest Trail Association

» Solution “Resupplies aren’t a major issue. Send one box of snow gear to Kennedy Meadows, and buy everything else you need along the trail. The real keys to success are to maintain mental focus, and to stay injury-free.”

Avoid Overuse Injuries

Stop aches from becoming trip-enders.

» Treat blisters. Open foot sores are painful and a common source of infection. Drain blisters with a sterile pin, leave the skin intact, clean the wound, and keep it padded and bandaged.

» Maintain good posture. Use good form (a straight, upright back) while hiking. Pack a balanced load and carry it evenly across both hips and both shoulders.

» Rest and recover. Schedule weekly zero- or low-mile days. Take anti-inflammatories, but seek proactive medical advice about nagging aches, especially in the feet or knees.

7,000-milers Speak Up

Gear tips from triple-crowners

“Your feet will grow on your hike, so buy boots along the way that fit your new size.” –John Cheatwood

“Go cold. Leave your cookset at home to save weight.” –Philip Carcia

“Try wearing a skirt; even guys find it comfy on long trails.” –Renee Patrick

“Be adaptable, flexible, and patient. Your brain is your most important piece of gear.” –Gabriel Pramuk