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  1. #1
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    Default Start date from Mexico for section walk

    I'm planning to walk the PCT in 4 or 5 sections starting ta the Mexican end

    I figure because I'm not bound by weather further North I would have a lot more flexibility in my start time and ease of getting a permit

    Is there a view on ideal start date

    Much appreciated

  2. #2
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    It depends. Snow levels and your comfort around snow.
    Kennedy Meadows will be your first finish for a 4 section schedule. Read 2017 trail journals. Find out when folks started and when they ran into snow and got to Kennedy Meadows. Adjust for snow totals at permit time.
    I would guess that the first half of March would be optimal for getting a permit and getting to Kennedy Meadows in an average snow year.
    Read the NOBO HOBOS blog. Homemade Wanderlust videos also. Two different schedules. Both are working this year.
    Wayne


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  3. #3

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    Assuming those 4 -5 sections will be done in different yrs, you're open to different times(seasons?), you're not locked into completing segments in order of an entire NOBO or SOBO, and open to flip flopping segments? These details make a BIG difference it what I'd opine! Opinions will vary.

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Dogwood makes a very valid point.
    Why hike any section as if you were on a NOBO thru-hike?
    4 sections are approximately 666 miles. Lay that out exactly and then adjust for convenient transportation to and from the trail. Also adjust for your daily mileage.
    Back to the Campo-Kennedy Meadows section. Turn it around. Hike in the fall. No real threat of snow. Water may be a problem. Can you cover 700 miles in 30-35 days?
    Starting and ending sections in places that you can actually get to or from is arguably more critical than when you hike. There are some pretty remote places in Northern California. Like the highway crossing west of Chester, CA. There are places you can't get to from here.
    Have a great hike. I'm envious.
    Wayne


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  5. #5
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Make that 662.5 miles. For the Monks in the audience.
    Wayne


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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    ...There are some pretty remote places in Northern California. Like the highway crossing west of Chester, CA. There are places you can't get to from here.
    Have a great hike. I'm envious.
    Wayne
    Chester CA isn't one of those super remote places. I've gotten there from Carson City NV, Reno NV, Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Susanville CA by interconnected bus systems. Easy enough to go from Reno to Susanville CA switching to a Plumas County bus to Chester. Can also come in from the west side. These buses connect to so many Amtrak and Ghound stations/stops with connections to major CA and NV Int AP's. Have done the Chester south to S. Lake Tahoe section hiking SOBO several times and have NOBOed it twice. Plus, there are some very hiker friendly businesses and a at least three PCT trail angels in Chester CA to get to where the PCT crosses Hwy 36/89 I think. Sometimes there's a water cache at the road crossing as well.

  7. #7
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    Nothing says you need to break the hike up evenly. I am on the 4 year, or 5, plan myself. Year 1 ('14) was Mexican border to Agua Dulce (LA area). Year 2 ('15) Agua Dulce to Echo Lake (S Lake Tahoe). Year 3 ("16) Echo Lake to Ashland OR. Year 4 ('17) Ashland to Canadian border, I hope, or at least Cascade Locks. I don't have my book out but this was appx 450, 640, 630 miles each year. This makes year four 940 (or 430 with year 5 being 510 or so) miles. It is your hike look at what will fit into your schedule and ease of access etc. I personally prefer 1-way rental cars and the schedule outlined above worked perfectly for that. Another point made earlier was that you do have the flexibility of choosing best weather for each section. I personally opted to continue roughly the same day that I ended the year earlier. This gives me the illusion of a pseudo thru-hike. As to start date, I started April 19th but this was before all of the quota stuff. In your shoes, current rules, I would probably start on the early side knowing that the following year I could adjust backwards. Easy planning tools are Craigs PCT planner (what I use) or Postholer.com has a planning tool as well. Hope this helps a bit.
    Lonehiker

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    I wasn't planning on a section hike but the snow this year is planning on a section hike. I started at Mexico on March 26th and dropped out at Walker Pass on May 28th. I'll probably pick up the trail again in September and end up in Yosemite. Northern California, Oregon and Washington are three section hikes for future years that will probably be done towards the end of the year.

    I found snow in San Jacinto and Mt Baden Powell, probably because of the extra snow this year. Normally the snow would be way down. The water was plentiful and the temperature was nice. So do the southern section early and the rest of the trail later and you'll have a wonderful hike.

  9. #9
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Dogwood,
    Remote is relative. When Rome2Rio tells me that Susanville to Sacramento airport on a perfect day is 8+ to 10+ hours by way of Reno I think that's remote. Oh, add a hitch to Chester and a local bus to Susanville. Probably a motel somewhere.
    The good news: If you get to Susanville during the day Monday thru Friday a one way car rental to the Sacramento airport is $200.
    Okay. Chester to Susanville to Reno to the World.
    Wayne


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  10. #10

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    Venchka, with all due respect you should look into getting to Chester further. I was giving examples based on how I got there based on using public transportation and having relatives who live near Carson City to do a specific PCT segment that ended/began at Chester. I also have spent time at PCT trail angels home on the Feather River and in Truckee that assisted. EASY ENOUGH TO TAKE Amtrak into Truckee CA for example and start/end a PCT section there. I actually did this twice flying into Sac and out of Sac for a Tahoe Rime Tr thru-hike. You don't need to come all the way from Reno, Carson City(which would be unusual if you're flying ) or Sac AP to get to Chester. It doesn't have to take 8-10 hrs to get from a closer AP or Amtrak or GHound Station to Chester to get to Chester. You also don't need to hitch with all the available ride options with proper planning. I'm not in any way accustomed to renting cars to do any hikes. I do agree with your absolutely valid main pt, which were getting away from, which is choosing PCT THs as conveniently as possible.

  11. #11
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Forget the Chester, CA monkey wrench.
    Here's another Monkey Wrench:
    Bear canisters required for overnight camping in Lassen N. P. My rough measurement is 20 PCT miles across the park. For some people that might be a stretch. So, what are you going to do if a 20+ mile day is beyond your abilities?
    Wayne


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Remote is relative. When Rome2Rio tells me that Susanville to Sacramento airport on a perfect day is 8+ to 10+ hours by way of Reno I think that's remote. Oh, add a hitch to Chester and a local bus to Susanville. Probably a motel somewhere.
    The good news: If you get to Susanville during the day Monday thru Friday a one way car rental to the Sacramento airport is $200.
    Okay. Chester to Susanville to Reno to the World.
    There's a better way to Sacramento from Chester. Take the Susanville Indian Rancheria bus to Red Bluff, then Greyhound to Sacramento. Under 5 hours. The connection in Red Bluff is tighter than the last time I looked, but there's enough slop that it should still be doable. If you're unhappy with the tight connection, there's an Amtrak bus out of Red Bluff with a 3 hour connection time. SIR will probably pick you up at the trailhead if you call them in advance.

    Yes, Chester is remote, but it actually has several public transportation options. Compared to Sierra City, Belden, or Old Station, that's a win. I definitely agree that section hikers should be considering ease of access when choosing their endpoints.

    Getting back to the original poster, I would recommend doing SoCal in the fall, starting at the border early-mid Oct depending on how fast you hike. Main downside is lack of water, with short days as a secondary drawback. Upside is you can time for good trail conditions without fighting the spring mobs and permit quotas. If try to start before the herd (mid-March or earlier), you should plan on serious snow on San Jacinto and Baden-Powell (and likely near Big Bear and much of section D). If you try to start after the herd (June), you should plan on very hot conditions. In between, you're going to be dealing with mobs of thru-hikers and permit quotas. Good luck and let us all know what you end up doing!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Bear canisters required for overnight camping in Lassen N. P. My rough measurement is 20 PCT miles across the park. For some people that might be a stretch. So, what are you going to do if a 20+ mile day is beyond your abilities?
    Camp at Warner Valley Campground, $16/site, bear boxes provided. 15 (easy except for that first hill) miles to the north park boundary.

  14. #14

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    Exactly, Rompel. You detailed my "coming in from the west side" comment. Amtrak to Red Bluff and then the bus system you detailed.

    Dunsimir or Mt Shasta could be another segment TH end/start pt.

    PCT hikers don't have issue with a bear can going through Lassen NP. You've detailed one way. There are at least two others possible I know.

  15. #15
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Thanks y'all. The Lassen Solution is priceless.
    Rome2Rio is useless.
    If my friend in Folsom and I ever hike the PCT we will use two cars.
    Wayne
    Wayne


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  16. #16
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    Default Start date from Mexico for section walk

    your friend in Folsom is always up for some PCT hiking. As long as there's no snow involved!.
    I DEFINITELY agree on Southern Cal in the fall! No crowds, great weather!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredt4 View Post
    I wasn't planning on a section hike but the snow this year is planning on a section hike. I started at Mexico on March 26th and dropped out at Walker Pass on May 28th. I'll probably pick up the trail again in September and end up in Yosemite. Northern California, Oregon and Washington are three section hikes for future years that will probably be done towards the end of the year.

    I found snow in San Jacinto and Mt Baden Powell, probably because of the extra snow this year. Normally the snow would be way down. The water was plentiful and the temperature was nice. So do the southern section early and the rest of the trail later and you'll have a wonderful hike.
    Even in a year that isn't a high snow year hikers will find often snow at San Jacinto and Baden Powell if they start before late April. Some years there is snow at Mt. Laguna until mid-April. Hiking in the Fall avoids that but water is much more of an issue. Plus you don't get to see the spring flowers which make hiking in southern California so beautiful in the spring.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker View Post
    Even in a year that isn't a high snow year hikers will find often snow at San Jacinto and Baden Powell if they start before late April. Some years there is snow at Mt. Laguna until mid-April. Hiking in the Fall avoids that but water is much more of an issue. Plus you don't get to see the spring flowers which make hiking in southern California so beautiful in the spring.
    Yup........She has been personally around the block. She is in the know.

  19. #19
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    Default Start date from Mexico for section walk

    I agree - spring would be great. Too crowded for me, tho.

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