I thought I'd take the opportunity to start my hike slow, maybe 5 miles/day, increasing as my body tells me it's safe. Rationale:
- I'm "young" but in bad physical shape, not from injury but basically from no activity. Every summer, I have done bike rides starting at ~15 miles/day, but that's about it. I know that I need to start slow. (I am generally a very determined person, so I doubt I'll quit that early.)
- I'm landing kind of early anyway to start a NoBo thru-hike.
- I'm a decent photographer, so I plan on taking many breaks for extensive photos and videos; maybe not so much during the desert portion of the trail, but in general. Hiking part of the PCT early on would let me skip that section later, giving more time for media, assuming I can get a ride from/to where I need to go.
However, for the social aspect and for ADZPCTKO, I still would like to depart from the southern terminus when everybody else does later on.
Question 1: ADZPCTKO is happening this year, right?
I'm going to take at least a few days to hike around and explore the vast city, whichever I land in. I can get a cheap flight to either LA or San Diego.
Question 2: What are some suggestions of things to see or places to experience within hiking distance of the city?
Question 3: I'm looking for a workaway opportunity or something similar (basically help around a person's property or some other way, in exchange for a working bathroom and a place to test my PCT gear out (sometimes also for meals depending on the work), maybe for a week, possibly longer. I have seen the page of trail angels but I wouldn't want to overstay my welcome, and I'd feel bad if I gave absolutely nothing in return. Surely there is someone in the area open to a stay longer than a couple days?
As previously mentioned, I could also take part of that extra time and hike part of the PCT desert section, to avoid some of the heat later on and have more photo time.
Question 4: What portion should I do? Here are my thoughts so far, and I would appreciate yours:
- Option 1: Land in LA. Public transportation or hitchhike to Kennedy Meadows, mile 700. Question 5: This would avoid needing a pass to walk through Sequoia National Forest, right? Hike south from there back to LA, mile 450 or lower. Question 6: Would this avoid needing to bring a jacket/coat? Leave enough time to use public transportation or hitchhike again to ADZPCTKO / southern terminus. Question 7: Could I get back to LA by the required time? I'm unsure how to estimate my mileage given my present condition.
- Option 2: Same as #1, except go to Walker Pass, mile 650. Pro: Possibly warmer and a bit shorter mileage.
- Option 3: Same as #1, except go to Cameron/Mojave, mile 560. Pro: This would certainly let me return to LA with time to spare. I could continue to hike south/east through San Bernardino National Forest if I had extra time.
- Option 4: Something else you'd recommend? I'm afraid to start too far south for fear of being unable to hitch a ride in the middle of nowhere, and because I don't think there would be quite enough time to form any relationships with others along trail south of LA.
Question 8: Do any of the areas I'm hiking through require a permit for camping? I'm afraid I may not have my PCT permit by the time I start, and/or it won't cover me doing a flip-flop/section hike.
Question 9: How much water will be available duirng my earlier-than-normal hike in the desert areas? The water reports I see at https://pctwater.com/ are all based on later dates, and I may be hiking slower than most. I planned on carrying 6 liters.
Thanks so much for your input, and I really look forward to meeting some good people out there (for once..)