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[pct-l] trail tread and other curiosities

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The lava sections are overrated, there are only a few miles through lava fi=
If the trails are maintained it is by all kinds of people, from volunteers,=
 to Forest service employees to forest service contractors, which may inclu=
de prison gangs as were seen in Los Angeles county.
Trail maintainance, including construction of bridges takes place often mor=
e at places of greatest use than at places of greatest need. See for exampl=
e the Russell river near Mt Jefferson (Oregon), a raging torrent without a =
bridge, and the nearby White Water river, a calm streamlet that has a bridg=
e though only a foot or two wide.
I would say that in total the trail is badly marked, it is not just stolen =
signs that are a problem. Though the PCT was established in the 1930's (I s=
eem to remember), more than 70 years later seemingly well intentioned range=
rs are putting up brand new signs in  2002 that fail to include "PCT" on th=
em. The signage on much of the PCT is comparable to a freeway that fails to=
 identify the freeway, the cities and only signs local cross streets. Many =
signs that include "PCT" fail to indicate both the North and South directio=
ns of the trail though the trail is in fact continuous in both directions. =
In some intersections there are complete signs but they are mounted in such=
 a way that it is impossible to be sure which direction is being indicated.=
  Along the trail itself there may or may not be any "PCT" signs, ("pregnan=
t triangle", wooden plaques,or white diamond) to confirm PCTness of the tra=
Combine that with the idiotic PCT Data book, which will list the "good dirt=
 road" "the last pond" "meet the old PCT" but will steadfastly ignore clear=
 landmarks like the first waterfall along the trail in a thousand miles, an=
d all the clearly marked wilderness area boundaries. Then you have the PCT =
guide books with poor quality maps and directions that have to be sifted fr=
om trail trivia and you have a recipe for getting lost and being unsure for=
 much of the trail. I dread every trail intersection. Don't count on asking=
 another human. I have gone 6 days without seeing one of those on the trail=
. Road crossings can be bad too, often with no indication on the ground whe=
re on the other side of the road or in which direction the trail continues.
We will all just have to get GPS.....
"Satellite" Frank Kroger
 Marshall Karon wrote:

 In the Cascades, there are
a few lava sections where stiff soles are needed. For the most part the
trail is wide enough so you don't brush against the foliage - but, since th=
trails aren't cleared every year, you could find some overgrown sections
(I've gone through some places and only felt the trail with my feet -
couldn't see it.).

The trails are kept up by volunteers - more in some places, less in others.

There are bridges across only the worst of the rivers/streams. Otherwise,
you need to ford, find a log, etc. The fords aren't all easy and some can b=
dangerous. But, you get across.

Generally, the trail is easy to find and is well marked. However, trail
markers have been stolen in certain places, especially near road crossings.
That means that having the trail guide (and reading it) is important in man=
sections, especially at junctions and roads. I've done parts of the trail
without the guide - and always wished I had it. I rarely got lost, but ofte=
thought I was. Be careful about following the tree gashes - sometimes all o=
the trails are marked the same. And sometimes, the most well established
trail is not the PCT. I don't think map and compass work is needed - except
in snow.

Good trail running shoes will work for the whole trail - some do it in
sandals - some in boots.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sara Baggett"

Sent: Friday, August 09, 2002 1:54 PM
Subject: [pct-l] trail tread and other curiosities

> I have a few questions if you all don't mind.
> I've been wondering what the trail tread is like on
> the PCT? I'm sure it varies considerably over the
> length of the trail, but generally what's it like? Is
> it soft sand, hard dirt, lots of rocks and stumblets?
> Is the trail wide or narrow? Is it well-kept? Except
> for snow obscuring the trail, is it easy to follow or
> does it require extensive map and compass work? Is it
> well-marked or does the section of guidebook stay
> glued in your hand or to the end of your nose? I've
> heard (or read) that the trail's grade is no more than
> 10% at any given time. Is that true or do you spend
> hours/days on the Stairmaster from Hell, climbing
> steps that never end?
> Nobody really talks about the trail itself. Anybody
> care to share?
> Sara
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