Thursday, March 20, 2014

PCT Info, FAQs, Links and Random Stuff


Questions from friends and family (if you have any that I haven't covered feel free to ask in the comment section below)

What will you do about food?

- See my resupply post

There is currently a very bad drought in the West, how will you get water?

As of mid-March the drought outlook is pretty grim. There is still a chance that we will have some late season storms bring more water into the area. But, even on a good year there are some long stretches where no water is available. Fortunately, there is a very active community of people supporting the PCT and thru hikers. Other than word of mouth, which will probably be the most up to date way to keep track of water sources, there is also the water report. This is a very useful resource for keeping track of water sources (there is an app for it as well). Yogis PCT guidebook (which is quite useful) also has good information on water sources. And, a little bit of common sense will also go a long way as well. Strategies for keeping water needs down include resting in the shade during hot parts of the day and hiking in the early morning and late evenings. I plan on using an umbrella as my own personal shade provider, which I think will help with moisture management. Of course, having the capacity to carry large amounts of water (5-7 liters) is also important.

What about wildfires, how will you avoid them?

There is always potential for wildfires along the PCT in any year. This year, due to the drought there could be an increased risk of fires. Again, word of mouth and the trail community are going to be the best source of current information. The forest service is also very good at informing the public about fire dangers and closures. There may be some detours off the PCT to avoid current fires, there are some detours due to fires from last year, this information is also provided by the Pacific Crest Trail Association and is updated very regularly.

Are you worried about wild animals?

No. As far as animals go, I am more worried about mice getting into my food than anything else. Rattlesnakes are generally not a threat, try not to step on them. Bears will be around at some point, I have not had any problems with them so far I don't think that will change. Mountain lions are probably the most dangerous animal and they are rare and generally not at all interested in eating people. I would be very surprised if I ever encounter one. I might get licked by a deer at some point, they seem to really like salt.

Here is a great list of 17 things other than bears to worry about.

Where will you sleep?

On the ground most of the time. I have a very cozy air mattress that will hopefully not fail on me. I am carrying a bivy sack and tarp and that is all the shelter I need. Of course, the periodic overnight in a motel or hostel will also be refreshing.

Are you bringing a personal safety device?

I do not plan on carrying a personal safety device. With preparation, common sense and some basic knowledge, most of the potential for danger on the PCT is mitigated. There can, of course, be accidents but I trust that I can get myself out of most situations. The PCT is also quite well traveled and as I am hiking in the "herd", I have no doubt that I will be around people should an accident occur. The one area where I anticipate the most chance for mishap would be in the Sierras, where snow and fast moving rivers can be dangerous. If the conditions in California do not improve, this year will have minimal amounts of snow and dangerous water crossings. Either way, I plan to do the Sierras with other people I meet on the trail.

Do you have a first aid kit?

Yes, I have a small first aid kit. I have also taken a wilderness first aid course so, hopefully I know how to use what I bring as well. Gear is no substitute for knowledge.

Links to information

Thru Hiking Terminology:
via Scott Bryce's blog  click here
via   here 

General PCT Information:
Pacific Crest Trail Association
PCT databook
Plan your Hike - pretty comprehensive website for planning
Pmags - check out the rest of his blog for great info

PCTA permit page
CA campfire permit

2014 PCT Blogs I am following:

Chase Your Dreams not the Magic
Loveline's PCT 2014 Blog
Rob's Blog 
Blog aggregator for PCT blogs- I am not reading all of these but I do browse from time to time

2013 and earlier PCT blogs of interest:

A Bear in these Woods
BOLO  (quite entertaining)
Find a Bear and Ride It
Russel Mease
Walking with Wired - very extensive blogs about the PCT and CDT, soon to be AT as well
Not a Chance
Boston and Cubby
Lisa and the PCT
Carrot Quinn

Food Preparation:

Backpacking Chef  (Really good source)
Trail Cooking 
DIY Backpacking Meals
Section Hiker
Mountain Ultralight