The world of long-distance hiking is filled with awe-inspiring tales, but few are as captivating as the story of Nimblewill Nomad. Behind this trail name is M.J. Eberhart, a spirited adventurer hailing from Flagg Mountain, Alabama. At an age when many opt for the comfort of their recliners, Eberhart took on one of America’s most iconic trails, the Appalachian Trail, and secured his place in history as its oldest completer.

After he become the old person to hike the PCT, there was only one question on his mind, “who holds the record for the oldest person to complete the equally demanding Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)?”

Who is Nimblewill Nomad?

M.J, affectionately known within the hiking community as Nimblewill Nomad, is not your average hiker. Born and bred in Flagg Mountain, Alabama, he’s a testament to the spirit of adventure that knows no age. His journey, however, isn’t just the miles he’s clocked on the trails, but also the transformation of a man into a nomad.

To understand the journey of Nimblewill Nomad, one must look back towards when he was just M.J. Eberhart. Prior to his trail days, Eberhart led a life that, by most standards, could be deemed as ordinary. Yet, beneath the veneer of daily routines and responsibilities, lay a restless soul yearning for more. It was this very spirit that would lead him to adopt the trail name ‘Nimblewill Nomad’.

The name itself carries significance. ‘Nimblewill’ is derived from a small, unincorporated community near the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. ‘Nomad’, on the other hand, encapsulates his wandering spirit. Combined, they perfectly represent a man whose feet rarely tread the same path twice and whose heart beats in sync with the rhythm of the wild.

For those in the hiking community, Nimblewill Nomad is an emblem of perseverance, resilience, and undying passion. While many hikers embrace the trails for a season or a few select years, Eberhart’s commitment stretches across decades, making his adventures a source of inspiration for both novice hikers and seasoned trail veterans alike.

His journey has been dotted with challenges, each met with the same unwavering spirit. From unpredictable weather conditions to the physical demands of the trails, Eberhart faced them all with a smile, attributing his success to a combination of mental fortitude and sheer will.

But beyond the accolades and records, at the heart of Nimblewill Nomad’s story is a simple truth: the trails aren’t just a place to hike; they’re a way of life. And for M.J. Eberhart, every step is a testament to a life lived fully, boundlessly, and on his own terms.

Why Hike the Pacific Crest Trail?

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is not for the faint-hearted. Stretching over 2,650 miles from the U.S.-Mexican border to the U.S.-Canadian border, it traverses through some of the most challenging yet breathtaking landscapes the American West has to offer. From the sun-scorched deserts of California to the snow-clad peaks of the Cascades, the PCT is a journey of extremes. So, what would compel M.J. Eberhart, at an age when most are settling into the comforts of retirement, to tackle such a monumental challenge?

To understand Eberhart’s motivation, one must first appreciate his philosophy towards life. For him, hiking isn’t just a physical activity; it’s a spiritual quest, a communion with nature, and an exploration of self. The trails offer an unparalleled sense of freedom, a break from the confines of modern civilization, and a chance to reconnect with the primal forces of the Earth.

The PCT, in particular, represents more than just another trail to conquer. It’s a tapestry of diverse ecosystems, cultures, and histories. Each mile brings with it a new story, a new challenge, and a new opportunity for discovery. In Eberhart’s words, “The trail offers a dance between the predictability of human-made pathways and the wild unpredictability of nature itself.”

But it wasn’t just the allure of the trail’s beauty that drew Eberhart to the PCT. At his age, undertaking such a journey was also a bold statement against societal norms and expectations. It was a way to challenge the common perceptions about aging, capabilities, and the idea of ‘limits’. For Eberhart, age was never a barrier; it was merely a number. His drive to hike the PCT was fueled by a desire to prove that passion, determination, and a sense of adventure could defy age.

Moreover, the PCT was also a personal challenge, a test of endurance, willpower, and mental strength. It was a chance to push his boundaries, to venture out of his comfort zone, and to discover what he was truly made of. The PCT, with its vastness and variety, offered the perfect platform for this introspection and self-discovery.

Trail Age vs. Real Age

Age, they say, is but a number. But on the trails, age takes on a different nuance, often referred to as the ‘trail age’. It’s an unspoken acknowledgment that on the trail, it’s not the years in your life but the life in your years that truly counts. For M.J. Eberhart, affectionately known to the hiking community as Nimblewill Nomad, this statement couldn’t ring truer.

When Nimblewill Nomad set foot on the Pacific Crest Trail, he was far from the typical hiker one might envision. While most PCT thru-hikers are in their twenties or early thirties, Eberhart was a notable exception. He tackled the trail’s vast expanse, its dizzying heights, and desolate deserts at the impressive age of 81, becoming a remarkable testament to the fact that age is no barrier to ambition or adventure.

But how does that trail age compare to his chronological age? As of 2023, M.J. Eberhart, the man from Flagg Mountain, Alabama, is 85 years young. Far from slowing down, he continues to remain active and engaged with the hiking community. Recent reports suggest that Eberhart has taken a step back from long-distance hiking. However, that doesn’t mean his adventures have ceased. Instead, he has pivoted to supporting fellow hikers, like his son “Where’s Waldo” on his Continental Divide Trail thru attempt. Eberhart’s involvement in these endeavors is more than just a passive role; he actively meets or departs from Waldo at trailheads, occasionally spending nights on the trail alongside him.

Eberhart’s life post-PCT is a testament to his unwavering passion for the outdoors. While he may not be setting more records on the trails, he continues to inspire countless individuals with his indomitable spirit, proving that adventure knows no age limit. His life story serves as a powerful reminder that age, whether on the trail or off it, is merely a mindset, and with the right attitude, the horizons of adventure are boundless.

The Best Season to Hike the PCT

The Pacific Crest Trail, stretching over 2,600 miles from the scorching deserts of California to the rugged terrains of Washington, offers an unparalleled hiking experience. But as with any long-distance trail, timing is everything. Selecting the right season can dramatically influence the success, safety, and enjoyment of a PCT thru-hike. So, when is the best time to embark on this epic journey?

The Southern Start – Desert Section

The majority of northbound thru-hikers begin their PCT journey in late April to early May. Starting during this period allows hikers to navigate the Southern California desert before the brutal summer heat sets in. However, an earlier start might lead to snowy conditions in the High Sierra, while a later start can mean harsher heat in the desert.

The High Sierra Entry

Ideally, hikers want to enter the High Sierra section in June when the snow begins to melt, making mountain passes more accessible. This timing reduces the need for specialized winter equipment. But remember, snow conditions vary from year to year, so it’s crucial to monitor snowpack levels and consult trail reports.

Pacific Northwest & The Finish

Most northbounders aim to reach Northern Washington by September, before the early winter storms roll in. The autumn colors in the Pacific Northwest can be breathtaking, but lingering too late can result in treacherous snowy conditions in the North Cascades.

Southbound Considerations

For those considering a southbound hike, starting in late June to early July from the Northern Terminus is recommended. This timing ensures most of the snow in Washington has melted. Southbounders must be prepared for longer resupply stretches in Washington and the pressure of reaching the Sierra before significant snowfall in the autumn.

Additional Factors

Besides the weather, there are other influencing elements to consider. Wildflower blooms, especially in the desert sections, can be a magnificent sight in the spring. On the other hand, mosquito season in the Sierra and Oregon can be intense, typically peaking in June and July.

Age: Just a Number on the PCT

The Pacific Northwest beckons, a land where every twist and turn of the road reveals new wonders, from towering pines to rugged coastlines. At the heart of this magnificent realm, Oregon emerges as a testament to nature’s diverse beauty. Here, every camping site tells a story, each season paints a different picture, and every adventure creates lifelong memories.

But what’s an adventure without a trusted steed? An RV isn’t just a vehicle; it’s a mobile window to Oregon’s soul. The freedom to set your pace, the luxury of home comforts while being cradled by nature, and the joy of spontaneous detours – it’s what roadtrip dreams are made of.

For those seeking to truly immerse themselves in this journey, consider renting an RV from NW Adventure Rentals. Their curated fleet ensures that every traveler finds the perfect fit, catering to both novice road trippers and seasoned adventurers. With them, your Oregon escapade will be more than just a trip; it will be an odyssey that resonates long after the wheels stop turning.

So, pack your wanderlust, gather your loved ones, and set your compass to the enchanting terrains of Oregon. The magic awaits.

Trial Run A Trip Before You Commit

As you’ve journeyed through the inspirational tale of Nimblewill Nomad, it becomes evident that age, societal norms, and perceived barriers fade in the face of genuine passion and determination. If his story teaches us anything, it’s that there’s no better time than now to embrace the call of the wild.

But what if you don’t want to commits months to a hike?

Imagine traversing the breathtaking landscapes by day and retiring to the comfort of a modern sanctuary by night.By renting an RV, you combine the thrill of hiking with the luxury of a mobile home. Whether you’re tackling the challenging terrains of the Pacific Crest Trail or simply seeking a weekend escape amidst nature, an RV offers the perfect blend of adventure and convenience.

With an RV from NW Adventure Rentals, you’re not just getting a vehicle; you’re getting a companion for your journey. Equipped with modern amenities, it ensures that after a day of exploration, you can rejuvenate in comfort, ready to tackle another day of adventure. And the best part? The freedom to chart your own course, to stop at hidden gems, and to wake up to a new vista every day.

So, why wait? The trails beckon, and with NW Adventure Rentals by your side, you’re set for an adventure of a lifetime. It’s time to lace up those hiking boots, chart your course, and embark on a journey that promises memories, challenges, and the unparalleled joy of being one with nature. Adventure awaits, and it’s yours for the taking!