Scott Williamson (hiker)
Scott Williamson is an American thru-hiker, most noted for being the first person to complete a continuous one-season round trip of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). He is also noted for his speed records for hiking the PCT.
In 1995, Williamson completed the hiking “Triple Crown”, a coveted achievement among thru-hiker community. The “Triple Crown” consists of thru-hiking the "Big 3" National Scenic Trails: The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), and the Appalachian Trail (AT). Williamson completed the PCT in 1993 by using a lightweight style of hiking, with a pack base weight of 15 pounds (6.8 kg). Williamson completed a thru-hike of the CDT in 1994, after a training hike of 1,000 miles (1,600 km) on the PCT. Finally, Williamson completed a thru-hike of the AT in 1995, by starting at the southern tip of Florida, hiking northward on the Florida Trail, continuing northward 400 miles (640 km) to get to the official start of the AT in Georgia at Springer Mountain, then completing the entire AT.
After attempting to perform a round-trip, or "yo-yo" of the PCT in 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2003, Williamson became the first person to perform a round-trip of the PCT in 2004. That trip started at the Mexico–US border, went to the Canada–US border, then returned to Mexico, for a total of 5,300 miles (8,500 km) in 205 days.
In 2006, Williamson became the first person to repeat the feat of "yo-yo"ing the PCT by becoming the second person to complete a PCT "yo-yo", doing it in 191 days.
In 2007, Williamson married his longtime girlfriend Michelle Turley and the newlyweds celebrated their honeymoon by thru-hiking the PCT southbound from Canada to Mexico.
In 2008, Williamson and Joe Kisner broke the unsupported speed record of the PCT, breaking Kisner's previous record-of 79 days, 21 hours and 42 minutes by over 8 days. The new record they set was 71 days, 2 hours and 41 minutes. This equates to an average distance of just under 38 miles (61 km) per day. In this case, "unsupported" means in the style of a thru-hiker, where supplies are obtained by hiking off the trail.
In 2009. Williamson and Adam Bradley broke simultaneously two PCT speed records for both the unsupported effort and the supported (assisted by a support crew for supplies, food and shelter) speed record of ultramarathon runner David Horton. Horton’s previous record was 66 days, 7 hours, and 16 minutes, which Williamson and Bradley broke by about 21 hours. The new double record they set was 65 days, 9 hours, and 58 minutes. This equates to an average distance of approximately 40.5 miles (65.2 km) per day. Williamson and Bradley did their hike of the PCT without taking any detours or re-routes due to trail conditions. In addition, Williamson and Bradley did not accept any rides to re-supply in trail towns, which added approximately 20 miles (32 km) to their total walking distance.
In 2011, Williamson set a new PCT speed record, unsupported, by completing the trek in 64 days, 11 hours, 19 minutes. Like the 2009 record, this new record broke both the supported and unsupported speed records. The new record equates to an average distance of approximately 41.1 miles (66.1 km) per day. Unlike the record set in 2009, this PCT speed record was set going from north to south. Williamson finished at the Mexican border October 11. And finally as in 2009, Williamson did the hike of the PCT without taking any detours or re-routes due to trail conditions, nor accepted rides for re-supply.
Williamson states, “being shot, coming that close to death, that made me focus more on what I felt was important in my life,” and “if the hiking is very important to me, I’m going to pursue that, regardless of what other people may think. It made me more willing to just follow my passion.”
Williamson also states, “I don’t own a home. I’m self-employed. I drive derelict vehicles I have to work on every weekend, but it’s been well worth it. The sacrifices I’ve had to make to get out on the trail every summer has been well worth it.”
Williamson is married and lives in California with his wife.
- Gauvin, Pete (January 2005). "A Life en Route – The Extraordinary Ho-Hum Exploits of PCT Hiker Scott Williamson". Adventure Sports Journal. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- "1995 Triple Crown Recipients". Retrieved April 17, 2008.
- "The Triple Crown Award". Archived from the original on April 24, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- Zieralski, Ed (November 2006). "Hiking into history – Pacific Crest Trail journey is a repeat performance". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- McHugh, Paul (February 2006). "Hiker travels light, fast on Pacific Crest". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- Johnson, Caitlin (January 21, 2007). "The Power of Walking". CBS News. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- Gauvin, Pete (October 2007). "Honeymoon on the PCT – Catching Up With Truckee Newlyweds". Adventure Sports Journal. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- Zieralski, Ed (August 2008). "Pair make hasty work of PCT trek with nary a spat". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- PCT Speed Record, ProBoards, retrieved March 22, 2011
- "Hiker sets speed record on Pacific Crest Trail". Sign on San Diego. October 14, 2011.
- "Scott Williamson Sets A New PCT Speed Record". October 13, 2011.
- "PCT unsupported Speed Record updates from Scott Williamson/ Bink". Retrieved October 13, 2011.
- Zieralski, Ed (October 14, 2011). "Hiker sets speed record on Pacific Crest Trail". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
- Hauserman, Tim (November 19, 2011). "Scott Williamson, Unsung Super Athlete". Moonshine Ink. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
- Hoffman, Benjamin (November 2006). "Pursuit of a Simple Dream Propels a Hiker in the Wild". New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- Friedman, Steve (May 2005). "The Unbearable Lightness Of Being Scott Williamson". Backpacker Magazine. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
- Zieralski, Ed (December 2006). "Wanna yo-yo? Join the club, pal". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
- San Francisco Chronicle article: “Hiker travels light, fast on Pacific Crest”
- Pea Hicks' (Trail Name – Girl Scout) video of Williamson’s 2004 Yo-Yo Finish
- CBS Sunday Morning article: “The Power of Walking”
- The Sierra Sun article: "Trail Master"
- Trailcast podcast on 2004 Yo-Yo: “Trailcast-25: Scott Williamson - First PCT Yo-Yo"
- BackpackingLight.com podcast on 2006 Yo-Yo: “Scott Williamson and Yo-Yo-ing the PCT”
- The Sierra Sun article: “2,650 miles, 37 miles per day, 71 days”
- Reno News & Review article: “Walking tall”
- Fastest Known Time website lists the Speed Record
- PCT News flash: “Scott Williamson Sets A New PCT Speed Record”
- Sign-On San Diego article: "Hiker sets speed record on Pacific Crest Trail"