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Two Questions about Late August Sierra PCT

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Two Questions about Late August Sierra PCT

Postby mountainlogic » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:05 pm

I'm going to be hiking from Donner Pass to Walker Pass starting on August 11th. I usually make about 25 mile full days traveling ultra-lite. My two questions for that time of year are:

- River Crossings: I don't normally bring camp booties, but that late in the are are some kind of water-shoes/water-socks need for crossing as I hate wet hiking shoes? I hike in Hoka Speedgoats that have a water barrier that dries a bit slow.
- Bugs: Heard the horror stories. How much netting, if any is recommended? Head/jacket/pants? I usually just hike in running shorts and a t-shirt. I don't carry long sleeve shirts/pants (except fleece jacket and tights).

A lot of the through hiking advice is for much earlier in the year so I would value later season advice.

Thanks
-scott
mountainlogic
 
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Re: Two Questions about Late August Sierra PCT

Postby Miner » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:58 pm

I hike in the Sierra every year for 2 or 3 trips. I normally wear trail runners that have a lot of mesh and no water treatment at all so they dry pretty fast. I never recommend any shoe with a water barrier or proofing for the exact reason you noted plus they tend to be hotter.

In late August/early September, most water crossings along the JMT, you'll likely be able to rock hop or find a log across. There are a few exceptions where you will have to wade, though it will all be below the knee and more likely calf deep; especially Evolution Creek. The bottom will more likely have rocks than not. You decide how you want to handle it. I did the JMT in late September to early October 2017 (journal here at postholer), and I had to wade twice with another time or two where my foot slipped in when I tried to balance across on rocks. From my memory of doing the Tahoe Yosemite Trail in late September of 2014 where I started up by Lake Tahoe, I don't remember any crossings of any significance until you get into northern Yosemite and where there were at least 2 crossings you had to wade. But that route only uses the PCT for half the distance so there could be some further north that I missed. I have also thru-hiked the PCT, but the July time period for the trail through there is wrong for what you want.

Usually by Labor day, other than a few wet meadow areas, you can pretty much consider the mosquitoes gone in the Sierra. If you don't want to bring long sleeves/pants, then at least bring some DEET just in case. The snow pack is looking to be big, though this could still change if the rain stops for the rest of the season. This means the bug season could get extended into the early part of your hike. I remember parts of the Desolation Wilderness can have some bug issues so that will be a good early indicator how the rest of the trip is going to be. In September, you can start to get some cold weather, so make sure your layers can handle it. There is no humidity to hold the heat, so a thunderstorm dumping large hail can cause the temperature to plummet quickly; and the rain will be cold.

The issue you will have from just north of Kennedy Meadows south to Walker pass is the heat during the day. September can be the hottest time of the year in SoCal once you are out of the high country.
Miner
 
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Re: Two Questions about Late August Sierra PCT

Postby mountainlogic » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:37 pm

Miner, thanks for the thoughtful reply. Great advice. I’d totally forgotten about the low county. It’s been 35 years since I hiked Campo to Weldon. Back then, before the each opened, the PCT crossed the highway right at Weldon and wow pack weights have changed. A little deet is easy and some 5 oz water shoes may be my one a reasonable luxury.
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