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Tracking every step on the Pacific Crest Trail


In April 2022, I set foot on the Pacific Crest Trail, a 4250 km long trail that starts at the Mexican border and ends in Canada. The trail crosses three states, a desert, and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and Cascades. Over the course of four and a half months, I tracked every step of my journey using the Garmin Instinct Solar 2S smartwatch.

As a scientist, I love numbers and stats. My smartwatch allowed me to easily monitor my pace, distance, and elevation in real-time. Following the numbers was not only rewarding but also useful for navigation—there was no need to constantly check FarOut to know the distance you've covered. It's also possible to upload the GPS files from the trail so the Garmin functions as a backup navigation tool in case your phone dies.

I switched out my Garmin Forerunner 45 for a Garmin Instinct Solar 2S for longer battery life. The Garmin Instinct Solar charges with solar power. In GPS tracking mode, it still requires a power bank charging every other hiking day (about 24 hours of continuous tracking). I found it a reliable, durable watch with excellent battery life. Every day, I posted photos and text about my Strava activity (see them here). Below, I will share my general hiking stats and numbers.

My PCT 22' Stats

The trail conditions in 2022 were challenging, with many sections closed or rerouted due to the ongoing fires. Despite these obstacles, I tried to stay on the PCT as much as possible. In total, we had to skip about 250 miles of closed trail going northbound, including the last section from Rainy Pass to the northern terminus.

We found a reroute and finished at the Canadian border at Ross Lake (50 miles west of the official terminus).

In total, I hiked 4051 km in 140 days with an average speed of 5.2 km/h and 123,970m of elevation.

Total distance covered: 4051.1 km

Total elevation: 123,970m

Average speed: 5.2 km/h

Moving time: 837h50

140 days on trail

15 zero's (days without hiking)

124 nights on trail

16 nights in a bed

4 pair of shoes

3 black bears

16 rattle snakes

4 rainy days

1 ankle injury

7 pain killers

70 km on my biggest day

32 km on average

251 miles of closed trail

14,505 ft highest point

This map was made using daily GPS data from my 2022 PCT thruhike, recorded with a Garmin Instinct Solar 2S watch. For convenience I used a compressed gpx file which displays a simplified version (less data points) of the route. Skipped sections due to forest fires are indicated by a fire symbol and a straight line.

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