Hiker Jam #5: Triple Crowner Compares the AT vs PCT vs CDT

Updated on February 26, 2021


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Eric von Gleich, aka “Rusty”, talks about the three iconic long distance trails in the United States - the Appalachian Trail or AT, the Pacific Crest Trail or PCT and the Continental Divide Trail or CDT. These trails are collectively known as the "Triple Crown of Hiking". Eric hiked the AT in 2015, the PCT in 2016, and the CDT in 2017. Combined this is just shy of 8,000 miles.

We are going to hear a little bit about Eric’s experience as well as nerd out on comparing the three trails in several categories: scenery, wildlife, trail conditions, weather, gear differences, hiking culture, resupplying and more. If you’re considering a thru-hike, but not quite sure which trail to hike, hopefully this episode will help you decide.

Mentioned in this episode:

Show Notes:

  • Rusty's gear (02:16)
  • How Rusty got into thru-hiking (05:44)
  • Why Rusty chose to hike the Triple Crown (07:51)
  • AT, PCT, and CDT overview (11:16)
  • Scenery of the three trails (12:45)
  • Differences between the PCT and CDT (17:32)
  • Extreme weather (20:36)
  • Cowboy camping (24:30)
  • Scary stuff: Lyme disease, black bears, rattlesnakes, etc. (26:28)
  • Trail conditions (30:12)
  • Miles on the PCT (33:57)
  • Navigating through the three trails and alternative routes (37:24)
  • Gear used on the trails (48:04)
  • Shelters (51:19)
  • Water sources (57:26)
  • Rusty's favorite trail (1:03:34)
  • Where you can find Rusty on social media (1:05:48)
Chris Cage photo

About Chris Cage

By Chris Cage Chris launched Greenbelly Meals in 2014 after thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail for 6 months. Since then, Greenbelly has been written up by everyone from Backpacker Magazine to Fast Company. He wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail and currently works from his laptop all over the globe. Instagram: @chrisrcage.
Stoveless Backpacking Meals
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  • No Cooking
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