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City: Hood River
Begins: Jun 25, 2018
Date: Sun, Jun 24th, 2018
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
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Glorious Mt Hood!
Today is the last day we are finishing up preparing for the trail. I haven't read too many reports (from Postholer or from the PCT 2018 groups on Facebook) about the conditions southbound from Ashland to Castella so am unsure if it's snow free or if we should pack our spikes. If you know the answer, just post a note to my Guestbook! I did read that the poison oak is bad between Seiad Valley and Etna so I need to switch out my shorts for long pants for that area. I am highly allergic to poison oak and I've had to deal with it three times on various sections. It's pretty miserable smearing calamine lotion on every day and night for the itching and oozing for a week. I also know there is another section near Ash Camp that has a lot of poison oak too.
I started thinking about all the years that I have been hiking the PCT. At the start of this big adventure, we were limited for three weeks each August. Then in 2016 I connected up with Seasoned Strider and got some major miles in. Here is how I've tackled it:
2009 - Started at Hwy 138 and hiked through to Cascade Locks with Jingle Bell and Forget-Me-Not
2010 - Forest Road 23 (Mt Adams) and hiked to Stevens Pass with Jingle Bell (Forget-Me-Not and Sole Duct went with us for the first week to White Pass)
2011 - Stevens Pass aborted two days in due to massive snow, flipped to Rainy Pass south to Stehekin, then south from Mt Adams to Wind River, with Jingle Bell and Sole Duct
2012 - Tuolumne Meadows to Bishop Pass - solo
2013 - Reds Meadows to Mt Whitney (out Whitney Portal) with Jingle Bell
2014 - Reds Meadows to Donners Pass with Jingle Bell
2015 - Stevens Pass to Canadian Border (and back to Harts Pass), started with Jingle Bell and then finished solo
2016 - Mexico Border to Ash Camp/McCloud with Seasoned Strider (Seasoned Strider continued on until Cascade Locks)
2017 - Took a break...
Over the years I have tried to pick which sections have been my favorites. The trail is so diverse from the Mexico Border to the Canadian Border that it is hard to choose. I absolutely love the Northwest volcanoes, probably because I live here and hike all over on them all the time. The Goat Rocks Wilderness is an amazing place but is so overrun with backpackers and day hikers in the summer and fall. The Sierra is also an amazing place to visit and hike and I was definitely challenged every time I did a section hike there. There are so many people on the JMT section, but I can see why people go back year after year. I would say that I have the best memories from hiking the JMT. It is so beautiful. The North Cascades in Washington are also very challenging, almost as much as the Sierra in places. The year we hiked the desert in Southern California the desert flowers were incredibly beautiful. I had never seen anything like it, or all those rattlesnakes....
So now it's down to the final push. I am looking forward to seeing the Trinity Alps section, the Hat Rim Trail, seeing the Sierra once more, and then pushing through the final miles past Crater Lake to Hwy 138 where I started all those years ago!
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