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re: [pct-l] Hola, new member

Jennifer wrote:

>The second question I have is the tent vs. bivy sac conundrum.  I am
>hiking with my partner and we are not sure if we should bring the small 2
>person tent or both of us bring bivy sacs?  I suppose we could alternate
>and use the tent at the higher elevations?  What has been most successful
>in your experiences?
>Also, does anyone know the earliest time that someone has left from Campo
>and been successful in through hiking without layovers waiting for the
>snow to melt??

  On my thru-hike, I used my tent (5 lbs) about a dozen nights for inclement
weather or bugs.  I did use it quite a bit for privacy or variable weather
since I was carrying it all the way from Mexico to Canada.  However, being
older and (supposedly) wiser, I would go with a bivy or tarp now.  The problem
is that with 2 people, weight is not so much an issue since you can find a tent
almost as light as a tarp and certainly as light as 2 bivy sacks, and if you
and your partner are romantically involved, you will probably want a tent for
privacy (not that the trail is crowded, just parts of it).  Of course, a lot of
couples (romantic or not) break up on the trail - they just can't stand being
so close to each other all the time.  You will have to make your choice based
on your relationship.  Generally speaking, the weather on the PCT is wonderful.
  I left Campo on April 17, headed into the Sierras on May 17 and was
continuously on snow with little relief until past Lake Tahoe at the end of
June.  The accepted way to do this now is to not reach Kennedy Meadows until
mid to late June (I got there in a full snowstorm on May 20).  I do not know
how snow conditions in 1975 (when I thru-hiked) compare to "normal" years;
suffice it to say that unless you want to ski or snowshoe the High Sierra, you
are better off not going high until sometime in later in June.  My hottest days
in the Mojave Desert were 95-98 degrees in mid-May.  You could leave Campo
earlier than I and if you took your time (10 miles a day?), you could still
reach Kennedy Meadows in June, though I would be bored silly at that pace.  The
conditions are so variable year to year that it is hard to name specific dates. 
I think "The PCT Hiker's Handbook" has a number of tables in it to help figure
some of this stuff out, where you determine the pace you want to follow, then
consult the appropriate schedule, which is a wonderful aid even though it is
not my way of doing things.
  Hope this helps.

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