Planning for a 5 month trip can’t be anything but loose. You wouldn’t plan your day to day for a 5 month period anyway because it wouldn’t work and it won’t work on the trail either.
This is a very rough estimate, the only thing that’d made sense for such a long trip but one that’s so necessary, at least to plan the resupply stations in order to know how much food one needs from one to the other. So this is basically a resupply schedule. It reflects the strategy I was describing above: I’ll try to stay on the trail as much as possible and will choose the ressuply points such that they’re on trail or as close as possible to it. Wherever on trail ressuply is not possible, I’ll usually favor a mail drop over a hitch to town… but there are towns too atractive to be left behind.
So here it is my rough PCT 06 schedule & mail-drop strategy:
|Location||Miles (days) from previous||Resupply mail, send to||Resupply mail, receive from||Bounce Box, send to|
|Campo||Agua Dulce||Agua Dulce|
|Lake Morena||20.2 (1)|
|Mt. Laguna||22.7 (1)|
|Warner Springs||67.7 (3)||Home|
|Big Bear Lake||87.2 (4)|
|Agua Dulce||89 (4)||Kennedy Meadows, VVR||Campo||South Lake Tahoe|
|Kennedy Meadows||141.9 (7)||Agua Dulce|
|Vermillion Valley Resort||172.3 (10)||Agua Dulce|
|Toulumne Meadows||65.5 (3/4)|
|South Lake Tahoe||152.6 (7/8)||Belden||Ashland|
|Pooh Corner||60.7 (3)|
|Sierra City||102.1 (5)|
|Belden||114 (5/6) / 91.6 (4/5)||South LakeTahoe|
|Old Station||88.5 (4/5)|
|Barney Falls State Park||45.9 (2)|
|Seiad Valley||56.8 (3)|
|Ashland||64.5 (3)||Shelter Cove / Elk Lake / Big Lake||Cascade Locks|
|Crater Lake||103.8 (5)|
|Shelter Cove||74.8 (4)||Ashland|
|Elk Lake||120.9 (6)||Ashland|
|Big Lake||163.3 (8)||Ashland|
|Olallie Lake||140.7 (7) / 94.6 (5) / 52.2 (3)|
|Cascade Locks||102.4 (5)||White Pass, Snoqualmie Pass, Skykomish, Stehekin||Home|
|White Pass||147.8 (7)||Cascade Locks|
|Snoqualmie Pass||98.6 (5)||Cascade Locks|
|Skykomish||75 (4)||Cascade Locks|
|Stehekin||97.8 (5)||Cascade Locks|
|Manning Park||89.3 (4/5)|
Whenever there are different options, I’ve indented them on their cell. On the trail, I’ll choose one of them. The next fixed point will show distances from all of the possible options in respective order.
Wherever I’m not sure if I’ll buy on the spot or use a mail drop, I’ve used parenthesis in the relevant mail drop information.
I’ll try to keep a paper journal of my trip but I know myself well enough to not trust my discipline to keep up to date with it. Maybe the length of the trip and the potential for solitude will change that but I don’t expect lengthy, not even daily records. In this context, I’d find no use for a journaling electronic device and I don’t think I’ll even try to engage somebody into transcribing my unintelligible hand writing.
But I somehow fancy the idea of leaving notes of my progress and I have a website of my own (this one) so I don’t even have to mess with finding a journalling account somewhere else. So I’ve set up a page where I expect to leave something whenever I have internet access and the will to invest some time on it: my PCT 06 journal.
It gets a bit crazy the weeks before departure. You want the time to depart comes as soon as possible but you also want more time to finish your preparations and planning, to try to avoid the inevitable fact that you’ll eventually forget something. It’s a bit of an agony but it’s all part of the fun.
To ease the process, I’ll take some time to take some photos that help tell the story:
The bounce box
I’ll use one but it’ll be a small one basically meant for those things I’ll not be able to buy as I go along or some others I’d need to buy in too big quantities. This means guidebooks and maps plus some other few things like lithium batteries, soap (that one I like) or alcohol gel. I’ll be forwarding it only five times (or so I mean) but to avoid the disintegrating cardboard box syndrome I’ll be using a plastic box. I hope it’ll hold up.
It’s been snowing like crazy for the whole of March and April so this has become a high snow year for a PCT thru-hike. This has made many re-think their strategies, particularly for the central Sierra Nevada. For the moment, my idea is to keep on schedule and deal with the snow. I’m reasonably experienced in snow travel so it should be no problem but I know how hard travelling on snow for extended periods can be.
I’ll not be able to avoid carrying some extra equipment, even though I liked the idea of getting along with the very same gear, end to end, with just one extra, the ice axe. This has evolved to a whole new kit for snow travel: axe, crampons, snowshoes, down pullover, vapor barrier socks, insulating mittens, waterproof mittens, extra socks… and a GPS unit. All of it will fit in a new box:
Six point crampons, awfully light, can be set in the instep or at the front. I had never used these before, will see how they fare.