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[pct-l] Re: Oregon PCT

I hiked Castella (Northern CA along I-5) to the Columbia River in late
July-August 1997 - here's some vague thoughts...

pct-l-digest writes:
 > I'm interested in learning more about the PCT in Oregon.  I have the popular
 > guidebook, and though it is an appreciated work, it remains lacking...
 > - - Which sections are not so clearly marked (or hard to find the trail)?
 > [For example, crossing lava bed areas or snow]

I basically never had trouble finding the trail; as trails go it's
pretty heavily travelled.  No worries with the lava beds (like near
McKenzie Pass), the trail's good through them, and they're a really
crazy landscape to hike through.

 > - - Which sections have a large population of mosquitoes? [I've
 > heard mostly south of Sisters]

Yeah, I think they were worst from Hyatt Lake through the Three
Sisters Wilderness..  I suspect they get mellower as the season goes

 > - - Which sections require significant stream/river crossings?

The only one I recall that was hard was the Sandy River on Mount Hood;
but it wasn't too bad either.  The time of year would make a big
difference here, of course.

 > - - Which sections are the most strenuous/difficult to backpack? [Generally
 > speaking]

Of my hike, the ten days in northern California (Trinity Alps, Marble
Mts, etc) were much harder than the rest of the trip through Oregon.
If you did Columbia river -> Timberline Lodge southbound, that would
be heck of a climb..  Mt

 > - - Which sections are the easiest to backpack that most people make pretty
 > good miles? [Generally speaking]

From I-5 near Ashland to the Sky Lakes wilderness was pretty easy, as
I recall.  

 > - - Which sections do you feel are the highlights, with regard to

Mt Jefferson is a really gorgeous mountain, in a beautiful if heavily
used wilderness area.  Some of the area around Mount Thielson was
great too.  Being a dirtbag backpacker and scaring the tourists at
Crater Lake was fun. :) That lake is impressive, too, if you've never
been there.

 > - - Which sections see the least amount of travel?

I didn't see a soul the entire way from the California border to just
short of I-5 near Ashland.  It's not particularly exciting hiking,
lots of logging roads and stuff, but it's certainly not crowded, and
it's scenic in its own way.  Generally any piece of trail not in a
wilderness area (and not on Mt. Hood) won't be too busy; just look out
for the crazy 40-miles-a-day thruhikers...

The guidebook suggests some alternate routes in places; the authors
seem to have a bizarre obsession with hiking to every lake near the
PCT.  I wouldn't bother with those, I did one or two and generally
thought it wasn't worth it.  The PCT (being a _crest_ trail) skips
some lakes, but the views are better.
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