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[pct-l] trail tread and other curiosities

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Although I concur with much of Frank's trail descriptions, I really don't t=
hink that I would fault the Data Book nor maps in the trail guide. The Data=
 Book seems to be an extraction from the Trail Guide, so what is in it, is =
in the Data Book. Admittedly, "last good road" doesn't help too much.

As for the maps, the authors themselves complain about them. It is the best=
 available without remapping the section themselves (some of which is being=
 done). Apparently the accuracy of many topo maps is not so good.

And as I found, it is trail junctions where the problems are. Normally ther=
e is a PCT sign - but it may be several hundred yards (or more) past the ju=
nction (probably closer ones were stolen). Sometimes I wish that the PCTA w=
ould have some "sign the trail" days and pass out a few signs to through hi=
kers to mount as they go (presuming they sign the right trail).

But, I really think the trail guides do a pretty good job of keeping one go=
ing in the right direction. Maybe getting lost is just part of the experien=

Marshall Karon
Portland, OR
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Frank Kroger
  To: Marshall Karon ; Sara Baggett ; pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net
  Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 8:17 PM
  Subject: Re: [pct-l] trail tread and other curiosities

  The lava sections are overrated, there are only a few miles through lava =

  If the trails are maintained it is by all kinds of people, from volunteer=
s, to Forest service employees to forest service contractors, which may inc=
lude prison gangs as were seen in Los Angeles county.

  Trail maintainance, including construction of bridges takes place often m=
ore at places of greatest use than at places of greatest need. See for exam=
ple 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 bri=
dge though only a foot or two wide.

  I would say that in total the trail is badly marked, it is not just stole=
n signs that are a problem. Though the PCT was established in the 1930's (I=
 seem to remember), more than 70 years later seemingly well intentioned ran=
gers are putting up brand new signs in  2002 that fail to include "PCT" on =
them. 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. Man=
y signs that include "PCT" fail to indicate both the North and South direct=
ions 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 su=
ch a way that it is impossible to be sure which direction is being indicate=
d.  Along the trail itself there may or may not be any "PCT" signs, ("pregn=
ant triangle", wooden plaques,or white diamond) to confirm PCTness of the t=

  Combine that with the idiotic PCT Data book, which will list the "good di=
rt road" "the last pond" "meet the old PCT" but will steadfastly ignore cle=
ar landmarks like the first waterfall along the trail in a thousand miles, =
and all the clearly marked wilderness area boundaries. Then you have the PC=
T guide books with poor quality maps and directions that have to be sifted =
from trail trivia and you have a recipe for getting lost and being unsure f=
or much of the trail. I dread every trail intersection. Don't count on aski=
ng another human. I have gone 6 days without seeing one of those on the tra=
il. Road crossings can be bad too, often with no indication on the ground w=
here on the other side of the road or in which direction the trail continue=

  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, sinc=
e the
    trails aren't cleared every year, you could find some overgrown section=
    (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 oth=

    There are bridges across only the worst of the rivers/streams. Otherwis=
    you need to ford, find a log, etc. The fords aren't all easy and some c=
an be
    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 crossi=
    That means that having the trail guide (and reading it) is important in=
    sections, especially at junctions and roads. I've done parts of the tra=
    without the guide - and always wished I had it. I rarely got lost, but =
    thought I was. Be careful about following the tree gashes - sometimes a=
ll of
    the trails are marked the same. And sometimes, the most well establishe=
    trail is not the PCT. I don't think map and compass work is needed - ex=
    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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