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[pct-l] (no subject)


I'd like to add a few comments to what's already been said in response to your 
request. Note that although I've spent the last year planning my '05 hike, I 
have not hiked the trail, so I'm going by what's been useful to me thus far.

The "guidebooks" people are referring to are  "Pacific Crest Trail: Southern 
California", "Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California", and "Pacific Crest 
Trail Volume 2: Oregon and Washington". These are the books that describe the 
trail and contain the maps most people use while hiking the trail. You should 
know that these books are written for people who are not necessarily 
thru-hikers, so information in there about water sources and so on is somewhat 
general. Points of interest are followed by a pair of numbers like (29.2, 5040) 
representing the distance from the previous point of interest and the elevation 
of the just-mentioned point of interest. These points of interest are sometimes 
within a few tenths of a mile of each other. To determine how far apart to 
relatively distant points are, you add up a bunch of these numbers in your head. 
The trail is over 2600 miles long, so you'll be adding up a lot of numbers 
before you're through. That brings me to...

The Data Book, formally known as The Pacific Crest Trail Data Book. From the 
description on the PCTA's website, you will not immediately understand the 
utility of this book and may be inclined, as I was, not to order it. Big 
mistake! It adds up all those numbers for you and lists each and every point of 
interest mentioned in the guidebooks along with its distance from the Mexican 
Border (mile 0.0). But there's more: because it's just data, you see at a glance 
a summary of about 30 miles of trail (give or take) per page. It lists water 
sources and notes how far off trail they are, and resupply points along with 
annotations about facilities in the towns (Post Office, lodging, etc.). Finally, 
you will find out soon enough that people tend to refer to these milepoints a 
lot in conversation ("there's a side trail at about 633.5") so without the data 
book you'll have a hard time figuring out where this is.

Most people seem to use both the data book and the guide books while they hike 
as well as for pre-hike planning. They (we) rip them up in sections so we only 
carry the part we need at any given time (other sections go in resupply parcels 
or bounce box).

Buy these books through the PCTA. They give excellent service and need your 
business more than Amazon does.

Recently Yogi (a veteran of both AT and PCT) produced "Yogi's PCT Handbook". 
This contains a lot of practical information about planning the trip and 
thru-hiking the trail. It also contains a section designed to be used while 
hiking, similar to the data book, but with some updates and a lot more 
information about resupply points and water sources. Since this handbook is 
specifically for thru-hikers this compensates for the generality of the 
guidebooks.  A two-page section which will be of particular interest to you is 
the one on "AT vs PCT" in which she addresses the many ways the trails differ 
and what an ATer is likely to need to get used to on the PCT. You can probably 
successfully hike the trail without this book, but I suggest you spend the 20 
bucks and save yourself a lot of time chasing down the same info.

I'd also recommend, if the book budget allows and you're interested in seeing 
the big picture, the Delorme Atlases for Southern/Central California, Northern 
California, Oregon, and Washington ($19.95 each). The maps are 1:150,000 and the 
large format shows about 70 or so miles of trail per page. The guidebook maps 
are 1:50,000 and are fairly small, showing only a narrow strip of terrain each 
side of the trail. You could use road maps instead of the Atlas, but the Atlas 
has contours and shading and shows the PCT quite clearly. Unfortunately the 
contours are in meters and the guidebooks/databook are in feet--a slight 
aggravation. You can do the trail without these, and probably no one actually 
uses them on the trail, but I've found them useful in planning.


Jacob Cartner wrote:
> My wife and I just finished our AT thru-hike and would like to start 
> planning a thru-hike of the PCT in 2006.  Any information regarding the 
> PCT would be appreciated, as we have done thousands of miles of eastern 
> hiking, but have done little western hiking (only Alaska, Hawaii, Grand 
> Canyon, and Yosemite).  I would especially like to have recommendations 
> on which are the best books to buy to introduce me to the PCT.  Thanks.
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