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Re: [pct-l] Introduction to Jamie and Ray

Dear Jamie and Ray,

I agree with Tom.

The Mexico border to even I-10 (Banning - Beaumont area north of Mt. San
Jacinto) would give you a good cross-section of Californian desert and
mountains.  However, I may be biased against the southern California
sections of the PCT as they are familiar and local to me and therefor not as
exciting to me as other areas.  I would seek the opinion of other PCT'ers
from outside of southern California for their picks in this area.

The Sierras should not be missed.  In fact I would seriously consider taking
all 4 months to hike from Kennedy Meadows to Sierra City, IF you want to
take your time and are not into major mileage making AND have the plans to
return another time to explore the other areas around the trail.  The
Sierras, "the range of light", are, in my opinion, the most beautiful
mountain range in the contiguous U.S..

A brief run down of the high points and potential low points to be
considered for avoidance of the other areas, IMHO (I offer this only under
the premise of having a limited amount of time and would not miss any
portion if the opportunity was available):

The gold country of California, north of Sierra City is beautiful in its own
way but can be extremely dry and hot in the late summer or early fall.
There is quite a bit of logging activity and scars in this area also.

The Trinity Alps / Klamath area south of the Oregon border in Northwestern
California is a beautiful area also with an entirely different feel than the
Sierras in flora, fauna, geology, elevation and weather, being closer to the

The southern portion of Oregon, although beautiful is generally lower
elevation with stagnant lakes that breed huge volumes of mosquitoes in
Spring and early Summer.  Until you reach the elevation of the Three Sisters
area you might want to skip this area (with the huge exception of Crater
Lake, a true natural gem of the Western U.S.).  From the Three Sisters area
north you volcano hop into Washington, every one of the volcanoes offering
beautiful scenery and great geology.  Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier stand out
amongst the many volcanoes as the largest, most magnificent in scenery and
greatest climbs (if you are into ice climbing).

Between these two volcanoes is, amongst other spectacular volcanoes, the
Columbia River Gorge that is an impressive canyon, spectacular in scenery,
offering numerous waterfalls and is where you cross the path taken by Lewis
and Clark.  I would consider the section from Three Sisters or Mt. Jefferson
north to Mt. Rainier as one of the best.

From Mt. Rainier north you enter the Pacific Northwest region, a mixture of
volcanoes and granite (like the Sierras) that can be gorgeous if you time
your presence here in the driest part of the summer.  Monte Dodge and others
can school you on this.  It can rain incessantly here and did on me for nine
days straight! (this might not be so unusual to you but it is to this
Californian!).  However, you get a flavor of British Columbia wilderness and
even have the threat of Grizzlies as you near the Canadian border.  To me
the wilderness in this area feels more wild, remote and virgin than most of
the rest of the Sierras (many notable exceptions of course).

Good luck and hope to see you at the 2nd Annual PCT Kick Off Party (2nd
APCTKOP) to be held mid April somewhere near the border.  Details to follow.

Greg "Strider" Hummel

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