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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=
----- Original Message -----
From: Frank Kroger
To: Marshall Karon ; Sara Baggett ; firstname.lastname@example.org
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=
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=
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=
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=
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?
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