As many of you know, I have decided to attempt a PCT thru-hike. Rather than going northbound, I’ll be headed south. The reasons for a southbound hike vary for person to person, but for me the timing worked out better than a northbound thru-hike.
As you may be guessing, a sobo thru-hike presents a few unique challenges. This year I’ll have snow to contend with right from the start, due to an above average snow year here in Washington. Starting from the northern terminus also means walking on trails that maintainers haven’t had time to get to. Fallen trees often make the trail an obstacle course, something most people forget to think about. Timing is another factor to always consider. To make a complete one season thru-hike, I’ll have to exit the Sierra Nevada ideally no later than early October. Any later and I’ll risk overnight snow storms. Another thing to consider is the water situation as I get to Southern California. That time of year it is very dry and I don’t expect many natural water sources to be flowing.
With all of these obstacles, one may think of this as a daunting task. I however, try and take things step-by-step. Right now I’m very involved in the planning process, but primarily for Washington. How will I get to the trail? Where will I send bounce boxes? How many days of food until the next resupply? These are the things to worry about right now. It is important to keep the timing in the back of my head, but I’m not going to make my thru-hike a terrible experience just to do it in one season. As for the water situation in southern California, I’ll just have to deal with that when I get there. People make great resources that track water source statuses, and I’ll be in great shape by the time I get there which should let me do bigger mile days with less water.
As I’ve said before, every thru-hike presents its challenges. The best thing I can do is prepare to be flexible and always be safe.
A lot of the information I’m using to plan for this hike I’m getting from https://www.pctsouthbound.com. This is a website made by sobo thru-hikers from last year, basically because they wished someone else had made something like this for them. Thanks guys! I’m also using resources provided by Halfmile. He maintains topo maps and updates them with waypoints of current, up to date information. What he does is amazing, especially when I figured out how to pair his GPS information with my own GPS software. Here’s his website: https://www.pctmap.net/maps/. Another great resource for anyone planing a PCT hike is Halfway Anywhere’s PCT resupply survey. He asked hikers where they mailed themselves food and compiled a list of the most common mail drops. It’s really useful to see what worked and didn’t work for past thru-hikers. Here’s the link: http://www.halfwayanywhere.com/trails/pacific-crest-trail/pct-2016-survey-resupply-guide/
I’m so excited to get back into the long distance hiking lifestyle, and I hope I can share that excitement with you all. That’s why I’m going to try and keep updating here with gear lists, photos from prep hikes (hopefully), and any other bits of information between now and when I leave. Thanks for checking in, it’s going to be a crazy ride!