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late date permit - REALLY need advice & info from exp hikers

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late date permit - REALLY need advice & info from exp hikers

Postby TheODB » Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:30 pm

Heyo Hiker Folks,

So good news is I got to submit a permit application (entered QUEUE at 10:30:39AM at 8764th in line!!) BUT bad news is the start date I got is 4-5 weeks later than as "new thru-hiker" I should start the trail. By the time I got into portal and started clicking there were only two dates left open - May 29th and 30th. So I took May 29th. I want to walk this trail!

This 5/29 start will give me 134 days w/daily average milage of 20miles, with no room for zeros, to finish by October 10th (which is already dicey snow-wise). I am really concerned that this required pace of hiking 20's out the gate with a time crutch/no wiggle room for rest days will:

1. not allow for that desired freeing first thru-hiker experience of really taking in the wilderness and forging new strong relationships
2. give space/time to even meet other hikers and build a strong Sierra team - maybe even cause me be solo the whole time
3. could bring on injury
4. bring mainly negative stress over the desired positive stress

Not new to backpacking, hiking, and general dirt bag living - worked as a guide, got wilderness therapy experience grit, backpack/hike regularly on y own, and am already training to build up my endurance regularly now - BUT - I have a realistic understanding and respect for the challenges this experience will bring and know there is probably a-lot I don't know - EX. I have never hiked a 20 mile day before or nonstop for 134+days....

With 5/29 start date in mind, I would so so so appreciate any insight and guidance on:
- 'If' and 'how' a positive full thru-hike experience is possible with these requirements?
- Will my milage in second half make up for late start?
- Will I have the option to build a trail crew at all? And especially for the Sierras?
- Will this put a negative pressure on the whole experience?

On the flip-side:
- Is it really seriously possible to get a canceled permit spot to change my date? Do these usually come available? And if so, is there a trend in when these come up between now and March/April?
- Is the "first 700 mile without permit loophole" thing still a thing after the 2019 PCT Permit changes?

I truly welcome and hugely appreciate ANY advice, information, and insight anyone with experience in this area would be willing to share.
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Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:27 pm

Re: late date permit - REALLY need advice & info from exp hi

Postby postholer » Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:21 pm

For an average hiker, starting May 29th puts you in some real danger. It will be VERY hot in the desert portions.

Starting northbound from Campo without a PCTA issued permit is perfectly fine. It is not a 'loophole'.

Pick a start date based on sierra snow conditions and your ability to deal with it. Leave Campo on any date you wish.

Say you start on April 22nd. If you think you'll be at, say, Big Bear on May 10th, get your PCTA issued permit with a start date of May 10th and start location of Big Bear. Use one of several campgrounds between mile 15 and mile 40 as dispersed camping is not allowed without a permit, hiking does not require a permit.

It's that easy. I really hate seeing people stress over something so simple.

As for the new restrictions for Oregon and the north end of the trail, follow all the rules. Those new restrictions are defined by land managers and are solid regulations. Follow the rules. Have your permit.
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