Let's face it, the vast majority of us are definitely not going to ever hike the entire 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. We might visit some spots along its Washington portion, or even hike small stretches in the Pacific Northwest, but tackling a hike that stretches from Canada to Mexico is simply not in the cards for anyone but the most diehard hikers.
That doesn't mean, though, that we can't live the experience of tackling the feat through someone else's feet, and eyes, and words. The Pacific Crest Trail: A Visual Compendium offers just such an opportunity, thanks to the creative approach and hearty constitution of author and book designer Joshua M. Powell.
Powell hoofed the PCT from Mexico northward in the summer of 2014, and while he says "there's nothing particularly unique" about tackling the trail, you can't say the same for the way he relates its wonders across nearly 200 pages of fun illustrations, infographics and narrative writing.
Yes, you'll get some of the features you'd expect from a "nature book," like guides to common PCT wildlife and noteworthy topographical features. But you'll also get lists of "Hiker Archetypes" that include folks like "The Creep," "The Trustfunder" and "The Weed Enthusiast." Powell includes worthwhile eats in the towns along the trail, and a list of weird things he found on his mega-stroll, and a list of newly discovered pet peeves like "not being able to find a flat spot to camp as the sun begins to set."
The Pacific Crest Trail: A Visual Compendium might not be the perfect guide for someone intent on tackling the whole trail for the first time, but it's a fun read for anyone who's already done it, or just daydreams about it.