The Pacific Crest Trail is a remarkable 2650-mile walking route from Mexico to Canada that passes through California, Oregon and Washington. A National Scenic Trail, it includes stunning deserts, shady woodlands, volcanic peaks and breath-taking views of the glaciated tips of the Sierra Nevada. The sheer size of the trail means that some hikers only do a portion of it, while others choose to take it in sections according to the season. Photographer and creative director Tim Voors decided to undertake the whole thing at once, documenting the exciting journey in a new book that has just been published.
Launched by Gestalten, The Great Alone tells the tale of Tim’s physical and mental endurance as he undertook one of the biggest challenges of his life. Featuring colourful illustrations and eye-catching photographs, the book acts as a type of travel journal for the six-month journey.
The book also outlines how Tim prepared for the journey, detailing what hiking enthusiasts need to know, from trail etiquette to planning food resupply boxes, tackling both blisteringly hot and chillingly cold weather, as well as navigating bear territory. He also details the reasons behind the trip itself.
“I was inspired by the thought of being totally alone. At 43 years-old I had rarely been by myself for longer than 12 or 24 hours. There’s simply always people around, be it family, colleagues or friends. It took quite some time to get used to sleeping totally alone under the stars without a soul around for miles. Of course I met lots of people, which was fun and inspirational, but for the most part I hiked alone during the day for six months from Mexico to Canada,” Tim told Lonely Planet Travel News.
Tim set off with no hard deadline, but with a goal of finishing the trail before the big snow hit Canada. With a ten-kilo bag on his back, he navigated his way around the winding path, often having to change course due to wildfires. As well as the practical side of outdoor survival and solo trekking, Tim came away from the experience with new skills and a new outlook on life.
“I learned that life is short, time is precious and one shouldn’t postpone your dreams. Going on a six-month walk never really comes at a handy moment in life. The trail taught me to slow down and be more flexible, and to spend more one-on-one time with people, in particular my three children. On returning home I decided to go on a monthly ‘micro-adventure’ with each one of them alone,” Tim said.
The Great Alone is available from Gestalten.