Hiking can be sooooo much fun, and geeking out while hiking is even better. While making plans for my upcoming Pacific Crest Trail trip, creating spreadsheets with supply stops and distances to the nearest towns, I started thinking about hitchhiking, almost inevitable on a long hike in the USA unless you have your own support crew.
But to really geek out, I just learned about the Hitchhiker’s Paradox. Given a random (Poisson) distribution of cars passing every 12 minutes, you might expect the expected wait time for the first car is 6 minutes, but that is wrong. The way events seem to clump in a random distribution means you are more likely to start waiting in a large gap instead of a small gap, so the real expected wait time is 12 minutes. Cool!
Another long trail beckons, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), extending 2,659 miles from the Mexico border to the Canada border, through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. (Some people confound Pacific Crest with Pacific Coast, but the trail is over 100 miles inland, and comes close to the Nevada border.)
Because the trail has become so popular (thanks, Wild), a permit system was recently imposed, limiting the number of thru-hikers starting at the southern terminus near San Diego to a maximum of 50 per day. My start date is April 23.
According to the latest annual survey, less than 50% of hikers attempting to complete the entire trail in one calendar year actually realize their goal . This will be the longest continuous hike I ever attempted. One prepares for the entire trip, but with my age beyond the 90th percentile of PCT thru-hikers, an early termination is quite possible. I will do my best to enjoy the trail for as long as my body can cope. Stay tuned…