My name is Pat Marion, I am currently a student at RPI studying computer science.
I hiked the trail with two friends that I went to high school with. We went to high school in Hanover, NH. Hanover is a trail town along the Appalachian trail, so thru hiking had always been something I thought about. My friends and I would frequently hike out on the AT for an overnight, and sometimes drive an hour north to the white mountains for weekend trips. Prior to the PCT, my longest hiking trip was a three night trip in the Grand Canyon with my dad and brother. I would say I began the PCT as a very inexperienced backpacker.
I was away at a summer program during the summer between my junior and senior year of high school. Meanwhile back in hanover, my friends George and Noah were working in the same building. On their lunch breaks they began fantasizing about a thru hike after high school. Our friend Sam had moved out to California a year ago. Sometime over the summer he did a one or two day trip on the PCT and told Noah about how awesome it was. So instead of planning a thru hike on the AT, George and Noah began reading about the PCT. One day I was talking to Noah online and he told me about their PCT plans. I was immediately interested and began reading about the trail, but I dont think I told them I would join until I got back home at the end of the summer. One day I casually mentioned that I was interested and wanted to join, thus began our epic quest.
At first nobody believed that we were going to do it, or could do it. Sometimes it was hard for me to believe it. A hiking trip lasting five months? Walking more than 20 miles a day in order to stay on schedule? It sounds impossible. But we figured that if other people could do it, then so could we. We arranged our classes so we could graduate from high school a quarter early. We graduated March 28th. We flew to San Diego on May 6th, and slept our first night on the Pacific Crest Trail just 4 miles north of Mexico on May 7th. We were all 17 when we began the trail.