In addition to his professional activities, Eric Martinot is an avid long-distance hiker. During a 5-month sabbatical (2003-2004), he hiked the entire length of New Zealand, a distance of about 1600 miles (2600 km). In 1997, he started hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in sections, which is a continuous long-distance trail 2650 miles in length (4400 km) that spans the entire distance from the Mexican border of the U.S., through California, Oregon, and Washington, to the Canadian border. The trail mostly follows high-altitude mountain crests at typical elevations of between 5,000 and 12,000 feet (1500 to 3700 meters). As the trail passes through continuous and rugged mountain terrain, the total elevation gain (amount of uphill climbing) required to hike the entire 2650-mile distance is about 310,000 feet (95,000 meters), or ten times the height of Mt. Everest from sea level.
In 2013, Martinot completed the entire 2650 miles of the trail, finishing his last remaining section to arrive in Ashland, Oregon on October 21, 2013. Since he started in 1997, it took him 17 years to hike entire trail, although he only hiked during 9 of those 17 years. He is now on the "2600 Miler List" of the Pacific Crest Trail Association, which lists a total of 2917 people who have completed the entire trail since 1970. (Most people hike the entire trail continuously during one year, but a growing number are hiking it in sections over several years.)
While hiking these trails, Martinot would often take breaks in towns to write his publications on renewable energy, manage projects, and advance the cause of renewable energy globally. Such "working from the trail" has become more and more possible in the internet age.
Completing the trail sets the stage for intensive professional activities over these next years. "If I can finish the trail, I can do anything" said Martinot.