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  1. #1
    Registered User Benjaminja77's Avatar
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    Question California drought and not becoming a raisin

    With hopes of a 2016 PCT thru-hike, I am concerned about the current drought conditions. I understand that snow pack is at devastatingly low levels and I am wondering, if these conditions persist or worsen, will water sources be difficult to find/unreliable? I know that PCT water sources are way more spread out than on the AT during normal conditions, but I don't really plan on dying of thirst in the middle of nowhere. Myself being entirely ignorant of the west (hence my desire to go out west) I don't know how stupid my question is, but will the PCT be exceptionally dangerous during these drought conditions?

    P.S. This is my first post on WhiteBlaze --> here is the dancing banana guy:

  2. #2

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    Welcome to WB!

    The drought in CA will have an impact on water sources. Keep an eye on what the PCTA (pcta.org) has to say about trail conditions, including water sources. The PCTA also has a pretty serious dissuasion program against the use of water caches, which may mean having to carry a lot more water going well off trail for it.

  3. #3
    Registered User Benjaminja77's Avatar
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    Thank you! Very helpful response. I found out that there is a PCT water twitter page creatively called... @PCTWater. There is also pctwater.com. I don't mind carrying a ton of water as long as my pack weight is down, which I am currently, slowly working on. Thank you again AT Traveler.

  4. #4
    PCT 2013, most of AT 2011, rest of AT 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjaminja77 View Post
    Thank you! Very helpful response. I found out that there is a PCT water twitter page creatively called... @PCTWater. There is also pctwater.com. I don't mind carrying a ton of water as long as my pack weight is down, which I am currently, slowly working on. Thank you again AT Traveler.
    pctwater.com, aka Halfmile's water report, is the single best resource. pcta.org won't have much useful, unless it points to Halfmile. Keep the most recently updated version in your hand or pack or on your phone and you have the best information that exists, and that's about all you can ask for. After that, you stop worrying and start planning how you're going to do it.
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    Registered User enyapjr's Avatar
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    The PCT Water Report should more correctly be called the "SoCal PCT Water Report" - there can also be potential water 'problems' one should be aware of beyond SoCal...
    This year, especially, many of the "seasonal" streams and springs in NorCal and Oregon will likely dry up much earlier than 'normal' (if they are not dry already!) - which could be dry well before typical thru season in those areas...
    In many cases depending on the hydrogeology of individual locations, the same could be true for next year, too, unless it is a near normal or heavy snow year...
    Whatever maps with marked water waypoints you study, make a mental note to not trust any "seasonal" water source as being viable.

  6. #6
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    You are worrying way too much. There is no telling what the snowpack will be like next winter. Just relax until next January when next year's snowpack starts to take shape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCRUB HIKER View Post
    pctwater.com, aka Halfmile's water report, is the single best resource. pcta.org won't have much useful, unless it points to Halfmile. Keep the most recently updated version in your hand or pack or on your phone and you have the best information that exists, and that's about all you can ask for. After that, you stop worrying and start planning how you're going to do it.
    Remember that report is only as good as the Users who contribute to it. If you're using it update it as well.
    Pain is a by-product of a good time.

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    [QUOTE=Benjaminja77;1960227]With hopes of a 2016 PCT thru-hike, I am concerned about the current drought conditions. I understand that snow pack is at devastatingly low levels and I am wondering, if these conditions persist or worsen, will water sources be difficult to find/unreliable? I know that PCT water sources are way more spread out than on the AT during normal conditions, but I don't really plan on dying of thirst in the middle of nowhere. Myself being entirely ignorant of the west (hence my desire to go out west) I don't know how stupid my question is, but will the PCT be exceptionally dangerous during these drought conditions?

    read some of the current and just beginning trail journals for pct on trailjournals.com and postholer.com. that will give you and idea of how its going this year. I think "hot rod rodriguez" on TJ is giving the latest on the non-cache supported sections. I think he hiked about 36 miles between water sources in his last journal post.

  9. #9

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    If you're concerned about water in Socal, start in March, rather than April. Problem solved.

    New problem is having to stop to avoid hitting the Sierra too early.

    I did the first 342 miles this year during March, and it was quite nice. There were very few people to share the trail with.

  10. #10
    Registered User Benjaminja77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch! View Post
    If you're concerned about water in Socal, start in March, rather than April. Problem solved.

    New problem is having to stop to avoid hitting the Sierra too early.

    I did the first 342 miles this year during March, and it was quite nice. There were very few people to share the trail with.
    I will keep that in mind. I was thinking about starting early anyways just because I love winter and was hoping to take on some snowy extremes anyways.

  11. #11
    Registered User brian039's Avatar
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    I sweat a lot so I carried lots of water, up to 8 liters a few times. Carrying a lot of water isn't a big deal, it only sucks for a couple of hours because you drink down that weight pretty quickly.

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  13. #13

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    To be honest, the drought actually has a greater impact on people living in cities and to agriculture than it does to your hike. Yes it will be dry and water sources may be dry. But that is the same as it would be in any dry year. In my local Southern California backcountry (the Southern Los Padres Forest) there is actually plenty of surface water. Streams are flowing although a little low, and the usual water sources have water in them while the ones that tend to be dry in dry years are indeed dry. What's different is that some springs are dry. And oddly this year the wildflowers were great and the grass was greener longer than usual because the rain came more scattered. There just weren't any really big storms to fill everything all back up.

    The PCT water report will help your hike a lot.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

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