Q&A: PCT Thru-Hiker Alexa McRoberts
Alexa McRoberts thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) in 2013, and the Wonderland Trail in 2016. From her home in Boulder, CO, she spends most of her free time outdoors—mountain biking, trail running and backpacking on the Colorado Trail. When she’s not playing outside, she works in the outdoor industry, representing several quality outdoor brands. This year, Alexa and her sisters, Kahla and Dayna, are thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
What was your inspiration to hike the Pacific Crest Trail?
Since completing the AT in 2013, I have been eager to do another long-distance trail. I’ve had my eye on the PCT for a while, and this year just worked out with where I am in life. My twin sister, Kahla, had been planning a 2017 PCT thru-hike, and it also worked out for our little sister, Dayna, to join us. We are very fortunate to all be able to hike together this summer.
Young hikers Alexa, Kahla and Dayna.
How did you and your sisters start planning your hike?
We’ve been preparing for about a year, and we work really well together as a sister trio. Our plan is to make smart decisions and enjoy ourselves. We’re not in any rush to finish the trail, but are aiming for late September or early October in hopes to beat any wintry weather in the Northwest. We’ve prepared over a dozen mail drops along the trail, but plan to stop into nearby towns along the way for resupplies.
What other preparations have you made to get ready?
Early this year, I told my job about my plan to hike. I’ve been acquiring new gear and getting old gear fixed. Since I work in the outdoor industry, it’s been a fun experience to narrow down the gear I think will perform best. I’ve also been doing a lot of research about the differences between the PCT and the AT, and what to expect—especially with the snowy conditions we’ll be facing this year. I started a blog that I will use to update friends and family throughout our hike.
What are you most looking forward to on your PCT hike?
One of my favorite things about hiking the AT was the awesome people we met. I’m excited to meet more incredible people and hear their stories on this trail. I’ve learned through my preparations that fewer people hike the PCT than the AT, so I’m also looking forward to having more of an independent experience on this trail. But mostly, I’m very excited to see all that the West Coast has to offer. I’ve done very little hiking out there, so it will all be very new and exciting to explore!
What advice do you have for others who are contemplating a PCT thru-hike?
Leaving a job and your life, wherever it may be, takes a serious commitment and a lot of preparation to tie up all the loose ends before leaving. I highly recommend choosing a year to hike and giving yourself at least 6 to 8 months to prepare. If you don’t 100% commit and tell yourself that you’re going to do it, there’s a chance something will come up and you’ll find a reason not to do it. It’s never going to be a perfect time but you can’t keep putting it off forever. Just do it!
Alexa on Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail in 2016.
As of this posting, Alexa and her sisters will be just days away from beginning their PCT adventure. We’ll be following their progress, and once they hit the Oregon border, Alexa will be be sending trail news and conditions updates, which we’ll be sharing in our weekly posts. You can also follow Alexa’s blog for more photos and reports from her hike.
We wish Alexa and her sisters—and all of this year’s thru-hikers—the best of luck for a safe and successful adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail.