Every year around the end of April, hundreds of past and prospective hikers gather at Lake Morena for the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off or ADZPCTKO.
The event marks the unofficial start of the PCT thru-hiking season (although plenty of hikers will be departing prior to and after the ADZPCTKO), and brings together hoards of the trail's NOBO (that's northbound) hikers (sadly, I do not think a SOBO event exists up in Canada/Washington). Whether you plan on hiking alone, with friends, or still need some convincing, everything I have heard from former attendees says that the event is well worth it.
Lake Morena (the ADZPCTKO's location) is just after the 20 mile mark on the PCT. Most hikers tend to arrive early at the southern terminus of the PCT and then hike the section to Lake Morena in one day. Keep in mind that attending the Kick Off will mean that you are going to be surrounded by hikers in the early stages of the trail.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The agenda for this year's event includes a PCT Film Festival, gear contests, seminars, a silent auction, and best of all – meals!
Plenty of vendors also attend to show off the latest and greatest in ultralight backpacking gear and to show their support for the hundreds about to plague their feet with blisters and ass cheeks with chafe.
Registration for the event fills up quickly (this year it was full in under 32 hours), so if you want to secure yourself a spot in the festivities, then make sure that you are on top of your game.
Sadly, I will be unable to attend the event this year since my start date is currently set at May 15. Perhaps I will attend a later year to shower new PCT hikers in the wisdom I will surely gain from this 2,600 hike (or to hike the PCT again?).
USEFUL LINKS | ADZPCTKO Official Page (opens in new window)