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  1. #1
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Default Pre-Planning a PCT LASH for 2020

    I'm thinking of doing the southern part of the PCT next year (2020). To that end I have a few questions with which I hope the community can help me.

    1. Apparently there is no hands down best guide for the PCT like AWOL's AT Guide, or at least that is what research has told me. Does anyone have a recommendation on what I should have for a guide? I'm looking for one mostly for pre-planning since I would take Guthook with me on the trail.
    2. What maps would be the best?
    3. It looks like two permits are necessary. One is the California Fire Permit and the other is the PCT Long Distance Permit (over 500 miles hiking). For the southern section (700 miles to Kennedy Meadows) are there any other permits required that I may have missed in my research?
    4. And here's a big question. When is the best time to start, considering I'm not thru-hiking and do not intend to go through the Sierra Mountains? I guess I'm trying to avoid the coldest weather and the hottest weather on the trail. It looks like mid-April might be the best with a finish in mid-June. Any thoughts? I carry a 30 degree sleeping bag. Would a March start get me colder weather than my sleeping bag could handle?

    Thanks for any input replies may offer.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
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  2. #2
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    FWIW, I did pretty much exactly what you are planning last year, Campo (southern terminus) to Kennedy Meadows. It was fantastic. Way better quality trail and hiking experience than I expected.

    I started March 29th, and the timing worked out perfectly to avoid the extreme heat, yet still get over the two potentially high, snowy spots in that first 700 miles. Be aware, this can vary a whole lot year to year. In a light snow year, you could probably start even earlier, in a heavy snow year, a bit late is probably better. The "choke" point for that first 700 miles for snow is San Jacinto mountain and Fuller Ridge, about mile 160-170, something like that.

    I used Postholer for pre-planning. lots and lots of info there. I could share my resupply points, they are fair standard for a lot of folks.

    Permits: The best thing to do to make things as easy as possible is to get that long distance permit (and fire permit, which is easy). BUT, you don't actually even need a permit to hike those first 700 miles of the PCT. IF you do not have a permit, however, there are camping restrictions in a couple places. Basically, there are a couple areas where you cannot camp EXCEPT in an established campground if you do not have a permit. Postholer has those details.

    But, just go ahead and try to get that permit. Just send the request as soon as is possible, I forget the dates when you can do so, it's detailed on pcta.org, or something like that.

  3. #3
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Rob, Thanks for the info on Postholer. I was not aware of this website. They have a lot of good information there. I especially like the data on weather. The info on permits and departure dates is also appreciated.

    If you have information on your resupply points and it's not too much trouble, I certainly would like to see it. On the Appalachian Trail, I depended on mail drops mostly. I thought the pickings in most small towns was not that good. Is it possible to do mail drops for resupply on the PCT? That's one thing AWOL's AT Guide really does a good job on - post office locations and businesses that will accept hiker resupply boxes. I didn't see that kind of information on Postholer, at least in the first 200 miles that I scanned. It's possible I did miss it though.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
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    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  4. #4
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    I'm heading out soon for a few days, I can complete this next week, but off the top of my head, I remember at least the first few 100 miles:

    1) I started from Campo with maybe 3-4 days of food, then I took 2+ days (camped a few miles just before) to get to the store at Mt. Laguna (mile 41), where I topped off with another 3 days or so. I normally mail resupply boxes, but in this case I did not, since I knew the store had a good supply of hiker food. It does indeed. Plus the ranger station has modest trail magic (cold beverages and snack bars for free).

    2) From Mt Laguna, my next resupply would be Warner Springs, at mile 107, basically 66 more miles, taking 4 days, meaning I left Mt. Laguna with 4 days of food. Lots of folks hitch into Julian at mile 76. I tried for about an hour, long story there, ultimately failed (I was a gentleman), shrugged my shoulder and hiked on. Warner Springs is a great first rest/resupply place. Don't skip this place. I mailed a box there, 2.5 days of food because next resupply is close. The PO is a mile walk, but it is right next to a great restaurant (golf course clubhouse), plus the WS folks give rides at least one way.

    3) From Warner springs, refreshed, clean body, clean clothes, my next stop was Idylwild, or more precisely, the Paradise Cafe at mile 149. Great place for a meal, plus there are ample opportunites for a ride into Idylwild for resupply. I stayed a night in Idylwild, resupplied via mailed box, got ride back to Paradise cafe and hiked on. In between Warner springs and Idylwild is Mike's place where you can tank up on water (just off trail) and he makes pizza most days if you time it right, plus has sodas, beer and you can sleep there. I stopped in, ate pizza, drank a soda and a beer, then hiked on.

    4) the next stop after the Paradise Cafe was Big Bear at mile 263. This was a long, hard stretch (114 miles, over San Jacinto). You can hitch in to Cabazon when you cross I10 about half way through this stretch. I chose not to. But this meant schlepping 6+ days of food over San Jacinto.... I'd probably do it differently if I went back, planning on stopping at Cabazon. There were multiple trail magic places on this stretch, namely at the I10 tunnel, then later on, but can't remember the name of the place. somewhere near the Grizzley bear in the cage. Weird to see a grizzley bear in So. California.... but it was there. In a cage. Kinda sad. Used for movies, turns out. I did my one and only zero in Big Bear.

    Very briefly, the rest of the trip, I can fill in details later, I used McDonalds (pig out breakfast) at Cajon pass, Wrightwood (full resupply), the KOA at Acton (meal, camped, mile 440), Aqua Dulce (full rest/resupply mile 450), Hikertown Hostel (rest, tank up, meal at nearby town, free hourly shuttle, mile 512), Tehachapi (full rest/resupply, mile 553) and Walker Pass (Lake Isabella town, mile 647), then ended at Kennedy Meadows.

  5. #5
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    Hello All,

    I plan on doing the same hike next year. Starting in early April and end in Kennedy Meadows. Colorado Rob, how long did it take you to get there? Avg mileage per day?

  6. #6
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stroke1 View Post
    Hello All,

    I plan on doing the same hike next year. Starting in early April and end in Kennedy Meadows. Colorado Rob, how long did it take you to get there? Avg mileage per day?
    I'll look it up when we get home in few days. Probably 19-20 mpd, excluding the one zero and couple of neros. So maybe 36-37 days?

  7. #7
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    Aloha IDSailor.

    Resupply: https://www.pctmap.net/wp-content/up...s_resupply.pdf and https://www.pctmap.net/trail-notes/
    Maps: https://www.pctmap.net/maps/


    Halfmile does a decent job of updating and including trail notes similar to Jonathan Ley's CDT maps and map notes. FREE! Making a donation though would demonstrate support for these folk's hard work!

  8. #8
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Thanks, Dogwood. The trail notes and resupply list are awesome. It looks like those, some Nat Geo maps, info from colorado_rob and the Postholer website comprise pretty much all that is needed for pre-planning. This is just what I was looking for.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

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