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PCT detours for equestrians?

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PCT detours for equestrians?

Postby Wyethia » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:34 pm

Hi- If I was planning to ride and pack the PCT, woulds there be any parts that are not passable? I am not interested in doing the entire trail in one year (a bit too obsessive for me, I like to stop and look at things). However, if I wanted to do SoCal and and the sierra in one season, snow versus lack of water would seem to be an issue. is there a good time when you could get through the snowy parts (Fuller Ridge etc. ) while still being able to find water? Or would it be best to detour?
Wyethia
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Postby Ed Anderson » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:39 pm

Hi,
Your proposed journey will require a lot of research and planning on your part - more than the hikers need to do. Recognize that trail conditions, water and graze availability will vary from year to year. This last winter had well over normal precipitation resulting in more water and better than normal graze throughout Southern California. I rode through S.C. during a more typical year. I started from the M. border on April 19 and rode first to Warner Springs. I left Primo therer and went down to attend the annual Kickoff Party (I recommend that you should too). Actually, you might want to read what I wrote about my 2008 ride. On the web, TYPE in the following: equestmagazine.com/Ed Anderson then scroll down among the articles.
The southern part of the PCT was all passible and very enjoyable. The first barriers were just below Fobes Saddle approaching Mt San Jaciento. There were many, many, down trees - too many to cut. Trail maintanence crews had not been there yet. I had to detour, went up to a dead end due to a large talus slide - then went down and up to the PCT from Tunnel Spring. Still too many fallen trees. Then went down again, including cross-country to Morris Ranch Road and then down to the Highway - then rode up to a ranch below Fobes Saddle where my wife had left my rig. That detour had taken a day and a half. I was to trailer around the PCT north of Fobes Saddle. There was too much snow north of there and the PCT had been closed anyway due to the Apatche Fire.
Before riding any Section be sure to check with the PCTA and talk to whoever is in charge of that Section to find out if it has been cleared of down trees, boulders, and that trail washouts have been repaired. You want to find out if that Section is cleared and safe for horses. My ride through the San Bernardino mountains and the Angeles Crest was beautiful and passable but I had to road-walk on closed highway 2 to get past Baden-Powell as there was lots of snow. (This year parts of Section D was closed due to the Station Fire.) Whichever year you ride on the PCT I think you will be blocked by closed trails due to fires. You will have to detour around them.
Try to schedule your ride to reach highway 138 by early June - at the latest as the M. Desert will probably be too hot after that. From Tehatchipi Pass north to Horseshoe Meadows should be good to ride during June on a typical year. The Sierra should be passable for horses in August and September - but there might be an early storm during the last half of September. Not July, as it is likely that there will be too much snow on the high passes, and trail crews might not have been able to get up to clear downed trees and other obstacles until at least mid-July. Be sure to bring a saw. You might consider trailering south and doing Fuller Ridge in July and then starting north again in August to cross Forester Pass, leaving Horseshoe Meadows on about August 10.

Ed Anderson/MendoRider
Last edited by Ed Anderson on Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Wyethia » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:21 pm

thanks for the info- I am definitely still in the "daydream" stage. I am not planning to use a horse- I will either continue with my current mount, a mammoth size jenny, or get a mule. The slower speed is A-OK with me as it comes with a generally calm, professional attitude. Although after reading about llamas here, I will definitely have to get a local llama packer to "test" my animals! So far, bears, lions, birds, squeaky gates, no problem. Dogs are an issue, but only if the owners insist on allowing their "friendly" dog to run up and greet us- but it's more dangerous for the dog than the donkey. I was also wondering about some of the crossings in the Sierra- for instance, Woods Creek bridge looks to be for hikers only. I don't want to swim my animals. Is it better to wait until July or later (depending on the year) to start from Kennedy Meadow?
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Postby Ed Anderson » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:30 am

Hi Wyethia,
I just returned from 24 days in the Pacific NW.
If you want to ride north from Kennedy Meadows you should leave there early in August so you will reach Forester Pass after about August 5th to allow time for the snow to melt on the north facing slope. You should check with Kings Canyon and other NP's to find out about grazing possibilities - where it is legal. The can send you info on that. There is good and approved graze locations off the PCT along Woods Creek but down trees are not usually cleared until about mid-August. To do the PCT in the Sierra you will have to ford streams. Count on it. Also, ask about where BEAR canesters will be required. I strongly recommend that you pack all food in OP-SAKS as bears and rodents can smell food packed in Zip-lock bags and Food-Saver bags. Also bring moth balls to discourage bears.
MendoRider
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