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[pct-l] trail tread and other curiosities

You do not need GPS on the PCT during the main season.

As many have said, you can find your way almost 100% of the time - even with
missing signs, confusing junctions,  descriptions which are old (trees do
grow up and others get burned down), etc.  And for those times you get a bit
lost, it is probably because you weren't paying attention. And then, you
will realize the mistake quickly and just retrace your steps until you find
the right trail. And normally have some great scenery in the process.

One can lost even with a compass, map, and guide - all it takes is believing
they are all wrong and the way you are walking is right. Been there, trying
not to go there again.

Marshall Karon
Portland, OR
----- Original Message -----
From: "Trail Chief" <trailchief@backpacker.com>
To: <fkroger1999@yahoo.com>
Cc: <pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net>
Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2002 7:49 AM
Subject: Re: [pct-l] trail tread and other curiosities

[ Picked text/plain from multipart/alternative ]
Hey all, I'm doing the PCT thru-hike in 2003 and all this talk about getting
lost and bad trail markers are getting me worried.  I do have a GPS but
where would I be able to find the coordinates for the trail?  If I did find
the coordinates would they be accurate?


"Trail Chief" Ryan Comingdeer

On Wed, 21 Aug 2002 20:17:44 -0700 (PDT) Frank Kroger  wrote:
[ Picked text/plain from multipart/alternative ]

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 volunteers,
to Forest service employees to forest service contractors, which may include
prison gangs as were seen in Los Angeles county.
Trail maintainance, including construction of bridges takes place often more
at places of greatest use than at places of greatest need. See for example
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 bridge
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
seem to remember), more than 70 years later seemingly well intentioned
rangers 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. Many signs that include "PCT" fail to indicate both the North and
South directions 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, ("pregnant triangle", wooden plaques,or white diamond) to confirm
PCTness of the trail.
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, and
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
from 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
where on the other side of the road or in which direction the trail
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 the
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 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 crossings.
That means that having the trail guide (and reading it) is important in many
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 often
thought I was. Be careful about following the tree gashes - sometimes all of
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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