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Recon - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2021

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Chris "Radar" Taylor
City: Placerville
State: California
Begins: Jul 28, 2021
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Jun 20th, 2021
Start: Home
End: Home
Daily Distance: 0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 52
Journal Visits: 191
Guestbook Views: 2
Guestbook Entrys: 0

Pacific Crest Trail Map

A section hike plan

I have hiked from Yosemite to Tahoe a few times in my life. It's an accessible section of trail from where I live in northern California, passing about 30 miles from my house at one point. I find it to be a beautiful hike with plenty of lakes, very suitable for a section hiker taking time off from work, not having the fitness of a thru hiker.

As a teenager in the 1980's, I did the Tahoe-Yosemite-Trail route southbound. It isn't the PCT and involved a lot of route finding and land navigation. A decade later, I hiked the PCT section for the first time northbound from Yosemite. In my 40's, I did it again with my teenaged son, hiking northbound from Tuolumne Meadows to Donner Summit. All of those hikes were group adventures. Now that I am in my 50's, I find I greatly enjoy solo hiking as well. I really enjoy being alone with my thoughts. In 2018, I rode my bicycle down the Pacific Coast for my first solo trip. I loved it. In 2019, I spent three weeks solo hiking along the PCT and connected it with the Tahoe Rim. I loved that too. So I decided to try to do the Tahoe Yosemite section this year in the opposite direction from what I have done in the past. Additionally, Yosemite to Mammoth is a section of trail I have never hiked.

The permits for this trip are a little problematic. The route passes through several areas that require a permit: Desolation Wilderness, Mokelumne Wilderness, Carson Iceberg, and Yosemite. I was able to get the permit to hike from Donner Summit to Yosemite from the Eldorado National Forest, which controls Desolation Wilderness, the first wilderness I will pass through. However, the section of trail from Yosemite to Mammoth is so sensitive and over run by people that access has become tightly controlled. I can only get the permit to hike from Yosemite to Mammoth from Yosemite National Park. No other forest service entity can issue that permit. It's an online lottery that I have to enter on a specific day, a day I will already be on trail. So there's that. I'll have to negotiate cell service from the trail to enter the lottery. We will see if I am successful and get to go all the way to Mammoth or if I have to end in Tuolumne Meadows.

I am optimistic I'll succeed, but if I'm unsuccessful, that will give me extra time in the backcountry of northern Yosemite. That could be a win. All the times I have hiked through there before in life, I felt like I would love to come back and spend MORE TIME without feeling the pressure of a daily mileage goal. I have some friends who are mule packers that will be in northern Yosemite during the time I am in there so if I don't get the permit to go all the way to Mammoth, I can very likely have them bring me supplies that will allow me to linger in the wilderness I have long wanted to deeply explore.

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Journal Photo

Section Hike From Donner To Mammoth

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:


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