The Triple Crown

Costa Mesa, California

August 12, 2014

Dear Family & Friends:

The Triple Crown is my next adventure. The Triple Crown is a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. A thru-hike is a hike that begins at one end of the trail and does not end until the terminus of the trail has been reached.

The Pacific Crest Trail extends between the California/Mexico border, near the town of Campo, and Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada.  The trail is 2,668 miles long and proceeds through California, Oregon and Washington. The trail runs through a corner of the Mojave desert and winds through the High Sierra, reaching an altitude of 13,180 feet at Forester Pass in California. Here is some information on the PCT.

The Appalachian Trail is 2,200 miles long, with one end of the trail in Springer Mountain Georgia and the other end in Mt. Katahdin, Maine. The trail proceeds through Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Here is some information about the AT.

The Continental Divide Trail runs 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada, following the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains. The trail traverses 5 states: Montana,  Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. The Continental Divide Trail is reported to be the most rugged and difficult. Here is some information on the CDT.

I plan to start with the Pacific Crest Trail in April of 2015 in a South/North direction. The thru-hike will take approximately 5-6 months to complete. I have chosen April as my launch date so I will encounter minimum snowfall in the High Sierra, which I expect to reach in June. The logistics of this long-distance hike are daunting since I will need to resupply at various drop points along the way. I plan a solo-hike, although I expect to meet fellow thru-hikers along the way. Family & friends said they may join me for portions of the Trail, and I welcome the company. If you live near the trail, I hope you will consider joining me for a section of the hike.

After the PCT, I will decide on the sequencing of the remaining two trails. I’ll probably move West to East, doing the Continental Divide Trail second and  the Appalachian Trail third. I plan to blog along the way, just like my alpine climbs.

Speaking of alpine climbs, I’m planning a climb of Burke Khang in Nepal/China. More on that adventure when I develop a climbing schedule.

Today, I am leaving on a 5-day 50 mile backpack in the High Sierra along the PCT from Kennedy Meadows to Horseshoe Meadows. I’ll post some photos along the way.

I hope you are all having a great summer.



12 thoughts on “The Triple Crown

  1. I get tired just reading your posts. What a dynamo. I’m going back to the couch to watch Fox News and relaxing. However, it would be nice to join you on a portion of the Pacific Trail. My son and I started the John Muir Trail many years ago and the bears got our food on the first night…never made it.
    Great plans.

  2. Bill…you continue to amaze me…the PCT will be a blast and let’s hope this is not a snowy year in the Sierras. Enjoy the Range of Lights and hopefully your pack will not be as big as Norman Clyde’s pack. Just did Mono Pass and scramble up Starr Peak…beautiful.

    Hike to “your peak” means another trip to Kathmandu…super!


  3. Bill, what a fabulous three years of hiking. It is time for all of us to buy stock in Merrill, Columbia, Patagonia and their suppliers!! You will have company on the PCT in 2015.



  4. Wow! Bill, do you ever live a “normal” life any more or do you intend to train & just do “adventures” the rest of your life? My heals hurt just reading your log. May God’s blessing be with you & Sharon whatever you choose to do.
    One of the most beautiful hikes I ever took was from Mammoth to Kenedy Meadows & back when I used to spend my summers up there. I will be looking forward to sharing your hikes with you via your blogs. Love & Hugs, Betty

  5. When I get posts from your sight I am very excited to hear whats going on in the life of Mr.Burke and the family, I feel connected,,,Reading this post gave me an overwhelming feeling when you said you will be going alone,, I don’t know why Mrs Burke doesn’t just tie you down sometimes:) Mr.Burke stay safe and be careful on your adventure I will be praying and rooting for you,,,YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!!P.S. I will be sending for my dvd real soon

  6. Bill,

    I have recently considered the John Muir trail, but your going in the wrong direction. Not certain how permits would work to join you for a section, let us know if you have any suggestions for coordinating.

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