Postholer.Com


A Place to discuss hiking along your favorite trail
Home Journals Maps Planner Postholer

SoCal flip-flop/section desert hike advice

Discussion area for all topics concerning the the Pacific Crest Trail. This is a pleasant and friendly place where the 'hike your own hike' philosophy is encouraged.

Moderator: postholer

SoCal flip-flop/section desert hike advice

Postby adventuresofjesse » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:15 pm

Hello. First post here, and my situation is a little a-typical. I'm hoping I can pick a few locals' brains about where to start on my eventual thru-hike. I'm a good person in a bad situation where I'm currently at and just need to get out of here. I'm going to leave around mid-February from mid-west USA. I have never been to California or anywhere along the west coast; this is kind of a dream come true for me (and I still hope it does come true...). I have made many plans to get to the west coast, but they have all involved other parties and have been cancelled for one reason or another. I guess all of that doesn't really matter to you guys and gals, so I'll get to the point and hopefully get some advice:

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..)
-Jesse
adventuresofjesse
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:51 pm

Re: SoCal flip-flop/section desert hike advice

Postby Gary Schenk » Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:57 am

You think too much. Keep it simple. Take train to San Diego. Take bus to Campo. Put feet on ground, walk north. It's no more difficult than that.
Gary Schenk
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:42 am

Re: SoCal flip-flop/section desert hike advice

Postby jack5455 » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:44 am

I would recommend checking the snow coverage chart under the Google Maps link on this site. Right now, the only areas that are snow free are from the border to Warner Springs and Agua Dulce to Hikertown. Both of these areas require a lot more than 5 miles a day to the next water and many may not be active yet (faucets, etc.). I do not know when the water caches start to be maintained.

You can use Metrolink from Union Station in LA to get to Acton or Palmdale/Lancaster. You can bus from Lancaster to Mojave or Tehachapi. Check Dial-A-Ride options to get to Hikertown from Palmdale area.
jack5455
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:06 am

Re: SoCal flip-flop/section desert hike advice

Postby adventuresofjesse » Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:19 pm

Gary Schenk wrote:You think too much. Keep it simple. Take train to San Diego. Take bus to Campo. Put feet on ground, walk north. It's no more difficult than that.


According to the 2016 thru-hiker survey, only around 75% complete their thru-hike, and I've seen other statistics much lower for other years. It is obviously not so easy. If you're arguing that it sounds like I have already prepared as much as I can, I can understand that. You're not the first person to tell me "I think too much"; it's both a gift and a curse. However, I'd consider my research and planning beneficial to my hike even if only (for example) 10% of the information is helpful, or 10% of the time I spend researching from now until then yields information which ends up being useful.

jack5455 wrote:I would recommend checking the snow coverage chart under the Google Maps link on this site. Right now, the only areas that are snow free are from the border to Warner Springs and Agua Dulce to Hikertown. Both of these areas require a lot more than 5 miles a day to the next water and many may not be active yet (faucets, etc.). I do not know when the water caches start to be maintained.

You can use Metrolink from Union Station in LA to get to Acton or Palmdale/Lancaster. You can bus from Lancaster to Mojave or Tehachapi. Check Dial-A-Ride options to get to Hikertown from Palmdale area.


I recently found a place to stay in LA and will be hiking approx. the Tehachapi->Acton section. Thanks, I did see the snow map, and I think I have the transportation under control now. Your info was helpful. I'm less nervous as things seem to be falling into place.

You have a good point about some plumbing maybe not being turned on. I was thinking, in theory, that more water would be flowing down from the mountains and into that section. Incorrect assumption? Does water just never flow down that far naturally, without plumbing? That such vital information of water availability is not readily available online blows my mind, but I'm a computer guy who usually researches for computer related info. which is always readily available; I guess I'm used to having that information at my fingertips. I keep thinking I must be missing something. When I look at streams on maps, like google maps, I'm unsure if those streams flow all of the time, or if seasonal streams are shown at all.
adventuresofjesse
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:51 pm

Re: SoCal flip-flop/section desert hike advice

Postby Gary Schenk » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:25 am

adventuresofjesse wrote:According to the 2016 thru-hiker survey, only around 75% complete their thru-hike, and I've seen other statistics much lower for other years. It is obviously not so easy. If you're arguing that it sounds like I have already prepared as much as I can, I can understand that. You're not the first person to tell me "I think too much"; it's both a gift and a curse. However, I'd consider my research and planning beneficial to my hike even if only (for example) 10% of the information is helpful, or 10% of the time I spend researching from now until then yields information which ends up being useful.


Eisenhower said plans are useless, but planning is indispensible.

You have a good point about some plumbing maybe not being turned on. I was thinking, in theory, that more water would be flowing down from the mountains and into that section. Incorrect assumption? Does water just never flow down that far naturally, without plumbing? That such vital information of water availability is not readily available online blows my mind, but I'm a computer guy who usually researches for computer related info. which is always readily available; I guess I'm used to having that information at my fingertips. I keep thinking I must be missing something. When I look at streams on maps, like google maps, I'm unsure if those streams flow all of the time, or if seasonal streams are shown at all.


When are you hiking? Right now Section E, Tehachapi to Acton, will have plenty, or at least enough, natural water. The seasonal streams and springs are flowing right now, and they will be for some time yet. You'll still need some carrying capacity. You'll make more than 5 miles per day through there, too.

Check out the Wilderness Press guidebooks. I'm not sure why they've fallen out of favor, but they have much useful planning info.

Good luck!
Gary Schenk
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:42 am

Re: SoCal flip-flop/section desert hike advice

Postby adventuresofjesse » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:32 pm

Gary Schenk wrote:
adventuresofjesse wrote:According to the 2016 thru-hiker survey, only around 75% complete their thru-hike, and I've seen other statistics much lower for other years. It is obviously not so easy. If you're arguing that it sounds like I have already prepared as much as I can, I can understand that. You're not the first person to tell me "I think too much"; it's both a gift and a curse. However, I'd consider my research and planning beneficial to my hike even if only (for example) 10% of the information is helpful, or 10% of the time I spend researching from now until then yields information which ends up being useful.


Eisenhower said plans are useless, but planning is indispensible.

You have a good point about some plumbing maybe not being turned on. I was thinking, in theory, that more water would be flowing down from the mountains and into that section. Incorrect assumption? Does water just never flow down that far naturally, without plumbing? That such vital information of water availability is not readily available online blows my mind, but I'm a computer guy who usually researches for computer related info. which is always readily available; I guess I'm used to having that information at my fingertips. I keep thinking I must be missing something. When I look at streams on maps, like google maps, I'm unsure if those streams flow all of the time, or if seasonal streams are shown at all.


When are you hiking? Right now Section E, Tehachapi to Acton, will have plenty, or at least enough, natural water. The seasonal streams and springs are flowing right now, and they will be for some time yet. You'll still need some carrying capacity. You'll make more than 5 miles per day through there, too.

Check out the Wilderness Press guidebooks. I'm not sure why they've fallen out of favor, but they have much useful planning info.

Good luck!


I like that quote!
I'll probably start mid-March at Tehachapi, if it stays above 60F for most of the day.
I might take a look at those books.
adventuresofjesse
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:51 pm

Re: SoCal flip-flop/section desert hike advice

Postby Gary Schenk » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:40 am

Section E in March is nice. The aqueduct faucet will probably be turned off. Tyler Horse Creek will have good flow though and you could load up there. It's a really nice campsite, too.
Gary Schenk
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:42 am


Return to Pacific Crest Trail

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: postholer and 2 guests