Alan Masters, PCT hiker with a mission. Photo by Marshall Smith
Alan Masters, 52, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., is an exercise enthusiast, a veteran skier, hiker and a man who considers himself in pretty good condition. He owns a health and wellness business and is experienced in devising and working business systems.

Beginning his first Pacific Crest Trail hike, Masters was in Idyllwild Monday, April 29. He had just completed the first couple legs of his mission to hike the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail to raise money for Type 1 diabetes research and for the PCT Association.

Masters said this hike is for his father who suffered from Type 1 diabetes for 50 of his 71 years and eventually lost both legs before succumbing to the disease. “My mission is to raise awareness about the disease and, thought talks with groups along the way, raise up to $2.65 million for diabetes research.” Master’s business card for the mission states, “Follow my Pacific Crest Trail journey and help fight diabetes.”

As a man accustomed to designing systems, Masters has already had many of his plans overturned in the first weeks of his hike. “I’ve already experienced rain, freezing temperatures and 120 degree heat that have tested all my systems and preparation,” he said.

The first major change to his plans resulted in his trail name “Pac Man.” Other PCT hikers, seeing the size and weight of his pack gave him the name. Masters started in Campo, Caif., near the Mexican border with a pack weighing 63 pounds before adding water. Even at 6’4” and in good physical shape, Masters said the pack was much too heavy. He has changed out his gear and significantly reduced the pack’s weight. “I’m still in the process of getting my routines in order,” he acknowledged. But Masters is nothing if not upbeat and positive. “I’m passionate about the cause and the reason I’m doing this hike. I’ll be shooting videos, posting them to my website and talking to people along the way about this disease and asking them to contribute toward this cause.”

Masters began training for his hike in his South Lake Tahoe home area last November. “I hiked, with a 50-pound pack, 100 to 125 miles a month.

“What the trail has already done for me, though the people I’ve met and the help I’ve received, is to affirm my faith in people. I have so many reasons to be thankful. This hike has already been more than I anticipated both physically and mentally,” Masters said.

He is currently averaging 16 miles a day but knows he has to increase it to complete the trek by early October before snows hit the Cascades at the trail’s end.

It will take both faith and endurance, Masters said, to complete his hike. He seems to have both as well as an altruistic mission purpose that drives him forward.

Follow Master’s PCT hike and fundraising progress on his website