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NOBO on the PCT

Is it me, or is this blog's title proof that any hobby will take you on an abbreviation rollercoaster faster than you can say "NOBO on the PCT"? This blog has two simple goals:

  1. Dissect this jargon and explain it in layman's terms

  2. Introduce a new ambassador: Sietse Visser

When I was writing this blog I noticed that besides PCT and NOBO there are some other hiker words that did not make it to the title of this blog, but still might need some extra explanation. To help you out I have marked those words red and added them to a short appendix at the end of the blog!

Getting the lingo down to the dot.

The Pacific Crest Trail runs between the US-Mexican border and the US-Canadian border. In our blog, we introduced the PCT when Ingrid ( told us about her upcoming adventure in the States. However, other sources might have contributed more to the fame of the PCT; Books like Wild by Cheryl Strayed (also a decent movie), The Great Alone by Tim Voors, and the legendary content you get by simply hitting three letters into the search bar of Youtube: PCT.

In short, the PCT is arguably one of the most famous long-distance hikes and is quickly becoming the modern equivalent of the Camino de Santiago in my eyes. While 'The Camino' is a Christian Pilgrimage with its roots in the middle ages, the PCT is a Pilgrimage for the self in modern life. Walking 4270km will give you the time to consider every aspect of life. Once you're done with that, there is more than enough time to just be.

"Who is this NOBO?"

That was my first thought as an old gamer, however, it's not who but what is NOBO. NOBO is the most common way to walk the PCT, it's when a hiker starts in the south and hikes up north, this hiker is northbound. We can now easily add SOBO as a bonus abbreviation. A SOBO PCT hiker begins at the northern terminus and goes south on the same trail - southbound.

But who walks the PCT?

To give the true answer, you would probably have to meet every individual.... A daunting task as there are 50 NOBO permits given out for every day from the first of March to the end of May. For now, let us make life easy and get to know one hiker starting his adventure on the 4th of April, our ambassador Sietse Visser (@fishermanonthepct)!

Sietse is a 23-year-old Dutchy who has done rope access work for the past three years (it's the people who climb down high buildings or constructions to get a job done). To start the PCT, Sietse quit that job, so there would be a clean slate to come back to once he has experienced it all. The only deadline he has to worry about is the end date on his 6-month visa.

After talking to Sietse it's easy to know he is living and breathing outdoorness: during our call he was on his way back from Austria where he worked as a snowboard instructor, most of his hiking experience comes from guiding groups on trails in Franceance during his education as an outdoor instructor, and during his week before the PCT he's planning to do some surfing before he straps on his bare feet hiking shoes to get trucking.

That being said, this is the first solo thru-hike for Sietse! With trail angels and other hikers, there will be plenty of people to connect with, but we can't wait to hear how he experiences his great alone (the book by Tim Voors that inspired Sietse to start his PCT adventure).

With a base weight of 5.9kg, Sietse will be treading light in a good way. Thank you for letting us be part of your big three Sietse!

Thanks for reading 🙏,

Appendix A - hiker words

[1] Outdoorness: It's a word to describe someone or something who really enjoys the outdoors (not actually hiker- word, I just made it up).

[2] Thru-hike: hiking a long-distance trail from start to finish (generally varying from 7 days to a couple of months).

[3] Trail angels are people that live on or go to popular thru-hike trails to help out the hikers during the hiking season (for example: make their garden available for camping, supply water in the desert or make a home-cooked meal for the always famish hiker).

[4] Base weight is the weight of all your hiking equipment, excluding water, and food.

[5] Big three are the three biggest items of your hiking gear (generally in both weight and size). The big three are your tent (or hammock), backpack, and sleeping system (mat+sleepingbag or quilt).

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