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poison oak
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Kevin Clayton
(kclayton) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
poison oak on 01/26/2008 20:42:52 MST Print View

I am planning on Thru-hiking the PCT this summer and have not really considered the hazards of poison oak. Is it avoidable along the trails or is it easy to brush up against it? I am not a big fan of wearing pants while hiking, should I get used to it?

Edited by kclayton on 01/27/2008 12:50:57 MST.

Colleen Clemens
(tarbubble) - F

Locale: dirtville, CA
long pants on 01/27/2008 12:30:25 MST Print View

poison oak is estimated to be the most common native plant in CA. you will almost certainly see it or pass by it while in lower elevations, although since it is deciduous you may not recognize it if it hasn't re-grown yet (but it can still get you, even when leafless).

i'm no PCT expert, but i live in SoCal and i've heard from more than one former PCT thru-hiker that the best clothing strategy in the southern parts is to wear long pants, as pretty much everything there will hurt you in one way or another - the plants are sharp and the sun is blazing. I always wear long pants in chaparral and poison oak country - just the safest bet.

if you decide to go with shorts but are still worried about poison oak, carry a small bottle of Tecnu.

edit: are you hiking all of the PCT or just part?

Edited by tarbubble on 01/27/2008 12:31:03 MST.

Brian Sims
(MtnFiend) - F

Locale: Pasadena, CA
PO Removal on 02/07/2008 21:21:44 MST Print View

Better than Technu, as it is much cheaper, is to use any type of degreaser. I personally use the cheap citrus clean from Target. $.89 a bottle. I put some in a small travel spray bottle. The degreaser breaks down the oils that cause an allergic reaction, i.e. itching. Make sure to wash off the degreaser and PO oils after application. Also an antihistamine will help greatly.

I am an avid mountain biker in SoCal so I get a good deal of exposure to PO in SoCal throughout the year.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: poison oak on 02/08/2008 13:32:33 MST Print View

You shouldn't encounter P.O. in any great amount until you're north of Highway 49. I don't have any experience in Oregon but given the elevation you may find the weed there. You might do further research and only carry long pants when required. P.O. isn't something I'd want to deal with on a thru hike.