I'm about 18 months from being able to do this, and am just starting to put ideas together. I can't do the whole PCT at once, and honestly I doubt I would want to (HYOY, YMMV, FWIW, etc.). But I will be able to take August + September off next (hopefully) year, and I want to do a great big hike. Here are my parameters:
1. I want to walk about 1000 miles and incorporate the best of the West that I haven't yet seen. I'll give myself about 10 weeks.
2. I've done some PCT in Oregon and this year will take on the Goat Rocks + hopefully the Wonderland trail, giving me some Washington experience. I've been through Sisters, Hood, Olympic Peninsula, lots of other PNW spots. This trip is about new places. My experience of the Sierras is limited to snowboarding trips. In other words, I know it's awesome and want to go there.
3. I don't want to attempt more than 120 mile / week average at the most. Something between 15 to 20 miles per day, enough to see plenty of country at a reasonably solid pace. I want to carry a real shelter, air mattress, warm clothing, a kindle, plenty of coffee and hot food. I can foresee a base weight in the low teens and plenty of Mountain House in my future. I'm in good shape, 41, with somewhat questionable knees but a strong back.
4. I want to stick to the more scenic and awesome areas, I'm not opposed to skipping PCT sections that are boring, burned over, waterless, or crowded, and I hope to incorporate non-PCT alternatives wherever that's a better idea. Maximum scenery, minimum sticking to the path for the sake of it.
Right now I'm thinking roughly North Rim Crater Lake -> Whitney Portal, Starting July 25-ish, skipping over whatever is not-so-great between Burney Falls and Sierra City, and adding in the Eastern loop of the Tahoe Rim Trail, side trips in Yosemite and some SHR options on the JMT portion. That would put me in Tahoe around the end of August for a 3-4 day planned break to go to SF and see some friends.
I would love to hear any alternative ideas, suggestions, thoughts on what to skip over and what to surely do, etc. - I'm not too worried about gear at this point, I can afford decent gear and will get what I need when the time comes. Mainly I'm interested in the timing and the route and resupply at this point. I really appreciate any input!
1. Is September really the best time to see the Sierra? Does this schedule give me the best weather possible for this route, or should I think about an early July start? Is NOBO a better idea?
2. What peaks might I bag along the way?
3. What awesome alternative trails am I overlooking?
Thanks!!! This place is a great resource.