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1k mile PCT "chunk" - info gathering

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1k mile PCT "chunk" - info gathering

Postby timfarnsworth » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:45 pm

I'm about 18 months from being able to do this, and am just starting to put ideas together. I can't do the whole PCT at once, and honestly I doubt I would want to (HYOY, YMMV, FWIW, etc.). But I will be able to take August + September off next (hopefully) year, and I want to do a great big hike. Here are my parameters:

1. I want to walk about 1000 miles and incorporate the best of the West that I haven't yet seen. I'll give myself about 10 weeks.
2. I've done some PCT in Oregon and this year will take on the Goat Rocks + hopefully the Wonderland trail, giving me some Washington experience. I've been through Sisters, Hood, Olympic Peninsula, lots of other PNW spots. This trip is about new places. My experience of the Sierras is limited to snowboarding trips. In other words, I know it's awesome and want to go there.
3. I don't want to attempt more than 120 mile / week average at the most. Something between 15 to 20 miles per day, enough to see plenty of country at a reasonably solid pace. I want to carry a real shelter, air mattress, warm clothing, a kindle, plenty of coffee and hot food. I can foresee a base weight in the low teens and plenty of Mountain House in my future. I'm in good shape, 41, with somewhat questionable knees but a strong back.
4. I want to stick to the more scenic and awesome areas, I'm not opposed to skipping PCT sections that are boring, burned over, waterless, or crowded, and I hope to incorporate non-PCT alternatives wherever that's a better idea. Maximum scenery, minimum sticking to the path for the sake of it.

Right now I'm thinking roughly North Rim Crater Lake -> Whitney Portal, Starting July 25-ish, skipping over whatever is not-so-great between Burney Falls and Sierra City, and adding in the Eastern loop of the Tahoe Rim Trail, side trips in Yosemite and some SHR options on the JMT portion. That would put me in Tahoe around the end of August for a 3-4 day planned break to go to SF and see some friends.
I would love to hear any alternative ideas, suggestions, thoughts on what to skip over and what to surely do, etc. - I'm not too worried about gear at this point, I can afford decent gear and will get what I need when the time comes. Mainly I'm interested in the timing and the route and resupply at this point. I really appreciate any input!
Some questions:
1. Is September really the best time to see the Sierra? Does this schedule give me the best weather possible for this route, or should I think about an early July start? Is NOBO a better idea?
2. What peaks might I bag along the way?
3. What awesome alternative trails am I overlooking?
Thanks!!! This place is a great resource.
Kind-of-newbie. Working on it.
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Joined: Mon May 21, 2012 4:36 am

Re: 1k mile PCT "chunk" - info gathering

Postby markv » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:38 pm

Sounds great. There's lots that's great in the section you have picked out. I would skip, however, the south of Crater Lake - Ashland section. That was one of my least favorite of the whole trail. Also, you mention skipping from Burney Falls to Sierra City, but if you do that skip all the way from Mt. Shasta/Dunsmuir to Sierra City. Section O sucks. With the extra time, i'd hit more of northern Oregon instead.

IMO, September is one of the 2 great times to do the Sierra. The other is June. July is too mosquitoey and crowded. Your SOBO plan is good. Of course, you won't see all that many other hikers much of the time. But you didn't mention that as a bad thing.

Peaks along the way...? Mt. Eddy. Lassen. And then in the Sierra that time of year you have limitless possibilities. Possibly the easiest side peak from the JMT portion is Split Mountain, just southeast of Mather Pass. Tyndall is great, but climb-y. Same with Williamson and Russel.

I'd do the Cascade Valley route out of Red's Meadow, instead of the JMT, as a prettier alternate. There are some other possibilities that i can't speak to first-hand.

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Re: 1k mile PCT "chunk" - info gathering

Postby timfarnsworth » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:32 pm

That is super helpful, thanks very much! I'll give thought to skipping more norcal and adding in some more Oregon - though I've done the PCT from Hwy 242 (Sisters) northwards in Oregon. I could also do as you suggest, skip more norcal, and then continue on to Kennedy Meadows from Whitney. This plan may be a bit lonely until Yosemite, but it seems about ideal in terms of weather, bugs, and my schedule. Lots to think about, and lots of time to think about it. Or to go hiking! It felt like Spring in NYC today.
Kind-of-newbie. Working on it.
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Joined: Mon May 21, 2012 4:36 am

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