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[pct-l] re: [pct-1] pct starting date

>Date: Fri, 07 Nov 1997 07:10:48 -0800
>From: "G. Eberly" <barney1@lancnews.infi.net> (by way of Brick Robbins
>Subject: [pct-l] pct starting date

>I hiked the AT this summer and would like to try the PCT in 98. I have
>no experience with  ice axes and would like to minimize the amount of
>time spent hiking through snow. I averaged around 20 mile a day on the
>AT (except in the NH & Maine) and took only a handful of layover days.
>I'm thinking of using Jardines 4 1/2 month plan which recommends
>starting the first weeek of May. If snowfall amounts are normal this
>winter do you agree with a early May starting time for someone in my
>situation? Any advice would be appreciated!

I too went for the four and a half month plan on my through hike this past
summer. I actually started May 9th which is two days later but I made it up
quickly. While the timing of this plan works well, my advice would be to
start at least one week earlier. Some of the water sources were already dry
by the time I got there. A lot of through hikers started around May 1st,
some as early as April 15th, and they experienced far fewer water and heat
problems than I did. They were also able to take a more leisurely pace in
the beginning.  Twenty miles between water sources is not unusual so have a
ten quart capacity until Kennedy Meadows. I would highly recommend Platypus
bags equiped with a drinking hose or a MSR Dromidary bag along with your
water bottle(s) and a Pur Hiker filter.

June 15th is the common date in all Ray's iteneraries and is a good time to
hit Kennedy Meadows but you could've gotten through sooner this year, a
supposedly a big snow year. Meadow Ed holds a hiker gathering there each
year at that time and you can meet up with some of the others. Expect a lot
of mosquitos through the Sierras. Switch your tarp for a tent, a headnet,
and100% DEET. Although there is no post office you can finagle with the
mailman to resend your drift box by estimating postage. I don't think you
will need your filter again until parts of Oregon if you have iodine for
those questionable sources.

As far as the snow goes you will have to contend with it in any case and in
reality it will be one of the highlights of your trip. You must climb
through about ten passes that will be snow covered for an average of maybe
four trail miles each. It is for the most part hard packed snow and easily
hiked upon except for the dreaded suncups. You will only need an ice ax a
few times so get the lightest one you can. Except for a couple of moments
on Forester and Mather Passes I feel I would have been much better off with
a trekking pole. Plan to climb Mt. Whitney.

If you take nine days of food you can get to Vermillion Valley Resort
without having to go to Independence. The water taxi times to VVR are 9:45
AM and 4:45 PM from the landing a mile and a half from the trail, $15 round
trip. They charge six bucks per package held (it doesn't need to go UPS)
but has great food and is THE place to take a layover day.

Don't hit Oregon before the beginning of August to avoid the mosquitos but
try to finish around the middle of September. Some of us were caught in a
week long storm in the North Cascades and were pretty miserable. Although
it is comparing apples to oranges, I think you will find the PCT to be a
more demanding, remote, and scenic trail, with a lot more variety than the
AT. Have fun!


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