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Begins: Jun 11, 2011
Date: Mon, Jan 3rd, 2011
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
The amount of planning for this walk has been enormous. The Schifrin trail notes and the guide have been very useful in staging each day's travel, particularly keeping in mind the water supplies and camp locations. And several blogs.
We are a group of 4 from Victoria (Australia). 3 of us belong to the Maroondah Bushwalking Club, which is perhaps the largest bushwalking club in Australia (in member numbers). However, only a small proportion are enthusiastic long-distance backpacking types. Most are day walkers.
We've all been on heaps of other long walks in Australia and overseas. We have some great long-distance trails here in Oz, as well as a vast area of relative wilderness where you can get away from all those pesky day trippers, 4WD enthusiasts, trail bike riders etc. and get into the feel of the bush.
The pictures of the PCT look great. We love alpine areas, and have enjoyed walks in alpine areas in Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Peru, France/Switzerland, Nepal etc.
None of us is into the ultra-lightweight stuff and fast walking. Our daily rate will be modest at 15 - 20 km; that way you don't wreck your feet, and can keep it up for the long term. The ultra-light stuff I have seen is very flimsy and doesn't stand up to the thick/spiky scrub and understorey in Australia, nor the rock scrambling, so it's a bit pointless unless you intend to stay on trails all the time. But if you like going bush like us, then you need robust gear.
Most Yanks we meet on the trail are terrified of walking in Oz because of the snakes. Yes, we have plenty of them, with many of our common snakes in the top 10 listing for venom potency. There are also spiders, goannas (big lizards); feral camels, horses, cattle and donkeys that might attack you; crocodiles that eat you, sharks etc.
We get pretty blase about all that. It's standard practice to wear shorts, and heavy canvas long gaiters (too hot walking in long pants). these give very good protection against snake bite, as well as keeping out burrs, grass seeds, dust, mud etc from your boots.
The bears worry us (rattlesnakes are chickenshit compared with our snakes!); but we're doing the right things to avoid being pestered.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org