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  1. #1
    Registered User Nanatuk's Avatar
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    Default The PCT in sections

    I'm starting to form a plan to tackle the PCT in three sections. I originally wanted to do it all in one go, but over the last few months realized that I really don't care that its all on one go. Walking the entire PCT is the goal, everything else is for just braggin rights.

    Splitting it up this way helps me fulfill my family obligations which would be a real issue if I tried to do the whole thing in one push. Also has the advantage of doing each section in the best weather, especially avoiding the snow in the Sierra.

    My tentative plan:

    1. Oregon and Washington: Dunsmuir CA first week of August 2019 hiking North to Canada finishing first/second week of October.

    2. Desert section: Mexico Border late March of 2020 North to Kennedy Meadows end of April.

    3. Sierra: Dunsmuir CA Mid August 2020 South to Kennedy Meadows by Mid October

    Lots of other trailheads as options if something comes up.

    Thoughts, options, modifications, concerns?

  2. #2
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Default

    I am on a 5 year plan for completing the PCT and only have Washington left to complete it. But, I am under the impression that you want to be to Canada about 1 month earlier than what you have planned. Other, more authoritative voices, should chime in and I am interested in seeing the responses.
    Lonehiker

  3. #3
    imscotty's Avatar
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    Default

    Hello Nanatuck,

    I am on about a ten year plan for the PCT, I am 4 years in and 1000 miles down.

    I agree above that you are taking chances going through the Cascades that late in the season and that you might want to move it up a bit. Keep in mind I have not been there yet, I am still working on California.
    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


    John Greenleaf Whittier

  4. #4
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    Finishing up at the CAN border NOBO first/second wk of Oct is OK. Great time in lower BC and Vancouver CAN.

    3. Sierra: Dunsmuir CA Mid August 2020 South to Kennedy Meadows by Mid October - Sweat fest, could run into fire closures. I suppose you mean lower KM?

  5. #5
    Registered User Nanatuk's Avatar
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    Yes, lower Kennedy Meadows would be where I finish leg 2 and 3. Do you think it would be cooler doing leg 3 NOBO?

    Thanks for the responses. I've read a bunch of trail journals and articles and it sounds like September is historically snow free in Washington. Once your into October the chances of a snow storm increase. I'm going to be watching weather reports this fall and see what the first two weeks weather look like. A little snow is ok, getting a couple of feet first week of October would make me consider other options.

    The earliest I can start next year is Aug 6 or 7th so if the snow looks to be an issue in October, I could start at Ashland and finish at the end of September.

  6. #6

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    1) Most years, you can finish in Canada in that time frame just fine. But occasionally the snow gets too deep. Be prepared if winter comes early to bail out.
    2) If SoCal has a big snow year then you may have to accept hiking around a few sections of trail to avoid snow in steep terrain. Your time frame listed seems a little shorter than the typical 6 weeks many, much younger, hikers do. Did you mean finishing May and not April?
    3) You'll definitely avoid the bugs. NorCal in the late summer does tend towards forest fires and it seems the central part also in more recent years. Hiking the Sierra in Fall is great. However, any hiking past the 1st week on October, risks big winter storms; the likelyhood of them goes up the later it is in the month. I hiked the JMT portion again last fall, and other than some snow to start with in late September, had great weather till I finished on Oct. 6th, but a big storm did come in during the following week. The Aspen fall colors in the valleys were gorgeous.

  7. #7
    Registered User Nanatuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miner View Post
    2) If SoCal has a big snow year then you may have to accept hiking around a few sections of trail to avoid snow in steep terrain. Your time frame listed seems a little shorter than the typical 6 weeks many, much younger, hikers do. Did you mean finishing May and not April?
    I been looking at starting the mid march (16th) and finishing end of April which would be six weeks. I'm using Postholers planners set to average walking style. I'd like to start later, but not sure how I'll fair in the start date lottery for thru hikers that limits starters to 30 a day. I might end up having to start at the beginning of March and if I run into snow, wait it out. I'm in no rush for this leg.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanatuk View Post
    I been looking at starting the mid march (16th) and finishing end of April which would be six weeks. I'm using Postholers planners set to average walking style. I'd like to start later, but not sure how I'll fair in the start date lottery for thru hikers that limits starters to 30 a day. I might end up having to start at the beginning of March and if I run into snow, wait it out. I'm in no rush for this leg.
    I don't want to start any nasty arguments, but it turns out you don't need a permit to hike the PCT from the Mexican border to Kennedy meadows. You can legally hike this section w/o a permit. BUT, this would very slightly restrict your legal camp choices in the first 50 miles of trail, basically you cannot "disperse camp" but that's it. Easy to comply with as there are plenty of established camp sites, perfectly legal to use w/o permits.

    Link:

    https://www.postholer.com/forum/view...php?f=2&t=2966

    I was set up to do exactly this this last late-March, then out of the blue, a full pct permit slot opened up and I snagged it.

    And of course, you would need a permit further north on the trail, but it also turns out these are easy to get, as I snagged one for my wife (permit for Acton to Canada) online.

    BTW, and for what it's worth, I'm essentially doing pretty much exactly your scheme, in 2018-2019, though the original plan was to try to do it in two big chunks. This year's big wildfire situation has dissuaded me from the original plan.

  9. #9
    Registered User Nanatuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    I'm essentially doing pretty much exactly your scheme, in 2018-2019, though the original plan was to try to do it in two big chunks. This year's big wildfire situation has dissuaded me from the original plan.
    Thanks for the tip! That gives me lots of flexibility in planning that leg. Enjoy your hike.

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