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Re: [pct-l] Re: Horses on the PCT

As Brick said, you won't be hiking in deep, rutted trail.  It won't even
have much horse droppings.  Much of what you see on the trail depends on
the time of the year.  From my through-hike,

a)  April/May - Southern California, not much horses due to the heat and
lack of water.  Horses need upwards of 20+ gallons of water a day.

b)  June - Cross the High Sierras, there were lots of snow which
presented a barrier to horses but not to hikers, so no horse droppings. 
At the higher elevations, I didn't see the trail.  Be proficient with
using the compass and topo.  If you cross this area around mid-July,
there will be horse droppings but the trail is well-maintained, except
possibly in Reds Meadow area.  The trail is volcanic, powdery which
creates a puff of smoke when horses are around.  As you head north of
Yosemite, you'll most likely encounter hoards of mosquitoes, but not
much horses.  Consider bringing a head net or something.

c)  July - Northern California, hot and humid, I don't remember much
horses in this area, lots of flies though that would make your eye
twirl, round and round they go until you get up higher.  You'll see one
clear-cut area in Section O and then in mid-Washington, north of White
Pass, you'll see a bigger one.  Last year, they dug up a good four miles
of the trail around Red Mountain since they were clear-cutting next to
the trail and I had to hike on this dirt road.  Some hikers got lost in
this area.  Pay attention to the road direction if you have to veer off
the trail.

d)  August - Oregon, Weather becomes nice.  Mosquitoes not too bad.  Now
at this point with the nice weather, you'll see horses mostly in the
Three Sisters Wilderness, but it's not that bad.  The trail is well
maintained.  After the long Southern Oregon stretch, you may welcome the
disruption in rhythm if nothing else, the Three Sisters Wilderness is
very, very beautiful, so they'll slow you down a bit.  You'll also see
lots of wildflowers.  Wild fires were more of a problem; many had to
skip sections of the trail and go to the road.  From what I heard, they
were running into 100-foot wall of flames and had to run back fast,
hitch a ride, anything to save their lives.  I was lucky to pass through
there before the fire became an inferno (250,000 acres on fire)

e)  September - Washington, weather becomes iffy, rain, rain, and cold
rain.  Bring an umbrella.  Highly, highly recommended.  Hard hiking out
of Cascade Locks.  On occasions, you'll see elk hunters on horseback in
Southern Washington.  You'll encounter some rutted trail, horse damage
going into White Pass right after Goats Rock Wilderness, but that's only
for about 3 miles.  North of White Pass, clear cuts everywhere, I
estimate at least 40 miles or more.  Coupled that with rain and cold
temperature, in and out of trees, difficult whenever I have to go out of
the tree protection in that environment, and the lack of water sources,
(I was literally scooping water out of little pools on the trail, some
were colored green, but I'm alive), that definitely was a concern. 
After Snoqualmie Pass, the North Cascades are nice.  Don't remember
seeing any horses or any trail damage other than a re-route due to fire
earlier in the season but it was open by the time I got there.

One of the things I enjoyed so much with the PCT is not only going
through the change in season but being placed in situations where I have
to stop and think what I should do next.  Skill, strength, determination
are good, but common sense is a must, being able to look at a situation
and do the best.  Of course, the "best" relies heavily on ones point of

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