Those approximately 50,000 people per month who type “Pacific Crest Trail” into Google each month are hardly alone. Whereas Google’s Keyword Planner Tool reports that only 22,200 searches for all things related to hiking the PCT came into their search engine in May 2014, that number has grown.
According to Google, by April 2015, searches for the Pacific Crest Trail term alone had mushroomed to 110,000 searches. For that surge in popularity, hikers can thank the book and movie titled Wild, as reported by the Inquisitr. Wild chronicled the journey of Cheryl Strayed, a woman who got over her mother’s death and resulting heroin addiction by stepping foot on the PCT, woefully unprepared for hiking the trail.
According to CNN, searches on Google for the phrase “hiking the PCT” have surged more than six times over. And it simply isn’t folks who are used to hiking harrowing trails like the Pacific Crest Trail that are setting out on the journey. Just like in the book and movie, the focus on females hitting the trail is a shocking to surprise to some — as Strayed discovered when she ran into plenty of other hikers who admired her chutzpah (or fool-heartiness) for hiking the PCT alone as a woman.
In 2011, 48 percent of hikers were women, but that number has risen to 60% by 2014, reports The Outdoor Foundation.
Yet and still, as displayed in the Wild movie, launching on a hike in the PCT is no walk in the park. As reported by Oregon Live, three women from Ohio had to be rescued from the Pacific Crest Trail in the Cascade Mountains recently when the three females ran into snowy terrain that had iced over.
The three women hiked near Marion Lake when they set off their distress beacon to call for help to get off the icy area of the PCT. Rescuers were able to safely bring the trio to safety, unharmed, within 12 hours after they called for help.
According to Mashable, the PCT is 2,650 miles long, running from the Mexican to Canadian border. In the first year of the Pacific Crest Trail, only 29 hikers hiked through the trail, but by 2014, that number had surged to 1,000 or more. It’s a phenomena being called the Wild effect, due to the popularity of the movie.
With more attention being paid to hikers on the PCT, especially with viral YouTube videos showing the hike firsthand, expect those searches for trail hikes to continue to grow well past 2015.
[Image via Getty]