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a walk of five weeks or so?
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Capper Nichols
(cappernichols) - F

Locale: Minnesota
a walk of five weeks or so? on 04/08/2009 13:19:55 MDT Print View

I want to do a five week (or so) walk this summer, sometime between late June and early August.

I hiked the Larapinta Trail in Australia last summer, the Camino de Santiago in Spain the summer before, and I've also done the Superior and Border Route trails in Minnesota.

I prefer a western U.S. setting this summer, twenty or so miles per day.... Any portions of the PCT or CDT you might recommend? Other hikes?


Edited by cappernichols on 04/08/2009 13:20:58 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Favorite PCT stretches on 04/08/2009 21:28:56 MDT Print View

I walked all of the PCT last year, and the "favorite" stretches vary somewhat based on what a person is looking for. The 300 miles of the Sierras (JMT) is rightly a favorite; I'd be inclined to go in late August or September if doing it again, though June was a bit more adventurous and less populated (maybe easier to get permit?).

The other general area I liked best was "much of Washington state". The stretch from White Pass north (actually, the Goat Rocks area just south of that is good too) --- includes Mt. Rainier and then Mt. Adams. Then a little less exciting for a while, and then north out of Snoqualmie Pass generally is good, especially past U.S. 2 getting in to the Glacier Peak area towards Stehekin.

I'm not saying these are necessarily your best out-west-U.S. options, there are so many choices, but the PCT is good trail, and there's a lot of it, FWIW.

Matt F
(matt_f) - MLife
five week hike on 04/08/2009 22:19:10 MDT Print View

Capper -

I spent five weeks on the PCT last summer (early July to early August) essentially hiking south from Sierra City (northwest of Reno) to Mt. Whitney with my girlfriend...highly recommended. I'm a fellow Minnesotan, and if you decide to go that route I'd gladly fill you in on what we did logistically, etc. I lived in Washington state for a year, and as mentioned, the Washington PCT could be a wonderful 4-5 week trip, though in early July the southern portion of the state could entail a lot of snow travel.

Also, I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I couldn't help but notice you have done the BRT. I can't seem to find anyone who has done it, or even find trail conditions. I'm considering giving it a shot this fall...perhaps I can PM you at some point?

Good luck,


Phil Davis
( - F

Locale: Minnesota
John Muir Trail on 04/10/2009 07:28:39 MDT Print View

My wife and I went to a talk by Andrew Skurka last year on his "Great Western Loop" hike. Of the entire length (PCT plus Continental Divide and connecting segments - nearly 7000 miles in all) he recommended the JMT portion above all. A couple months later we did the JMT and it was absolutely awesome! If you haven't done it before you definitely want to include the high Sierras in your itinerary.

Michael Whiteside
(ruralbackpacker) - F

Locale: Northern California
JMT on 04/10/2009 10:01:04 MDT Print View

I agree with the previous posters. Have some of your hike include the John Muir Trail. The Sierra City to Mt. Whitney idea sounds great. I did the JMT last summer and it was great.


Do you have time to do a brief trip report on the Larapinta Trail? Have you done any backpacking in Kakadu Park?


Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
a walk of five weeks or so? on 04/10/2009 15:05:22 MDT Print View

I'm seeing lots of Sierra advocates posting here, but nothing on the Rockies.

It probably won't take five weeks, but the Highline/Fremont (aka Continental Divide) trail through Wyoming's Wind Rivers from Big Sandy Opening to Green River Lakes is outstanding. There are many side trips you could take to expand the 80-mile point-to-point journey. One of these would be to visit the Cirque of the Towers and then take the Lizard Head-Bears Ears trail loop, returning over Hailey Pass. Farther north, you could take the Hay Pass trail to Golden Lakes and the Alpine Lakes. If you're skilled in cross-country travel and have the skills and equipment for glacier travel, you could exit this area via Indian Pass and Titcomb Basin (if not, exit via Hay Pass or the nearby Fall Creek Pass). A trip to Titcomb Basin is also mandatory. At the north end, you can visit Peak Lake and/or take the Doubletop Mountain trail west from Summit Lake, descending to Green River Lakes via the Porcupine Creek trail. You'll be above timberline most of the time, and the weather can sometimes be brutal (lots of frosty nights and snow, even blizzard conditions, possible at any time), so be prepared accordingly.

There is a shuttle (somewhat pricey) run by the Great Outdoors Shop in Pinedale, WY, which makes a one-way hike easily do-able.

You could spend 2-3 weeks here and the rest of your time hiking another stretch of the Continental Divide Trail. Or you could consider the Colorado Trail, which I believe would take close to a month.

If you have to start in late June, though, note that the meltout for these trails in a normal snow year (which this year seems to be) is early to mid-July. You'll be traveling on lots of snow and having to ford a lot of swollen streams. If it's possible to postpone the start of your trip until, say, the second week of July, you'll have better conditions.

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/10/2009 15:06:53 MDT.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: a walk of five weeks or so? on 04/10/2009 15:27:39 MDT Print View

Consider doing the JMT and HST trails combined, depending on your daily pace you might be able to do the HST round trip. The HST=High Sierra Trail (from Crescent Meadows trailhead in Sequoia National Park's Giant Forest to Whitney Portal).

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Larapinta Trail on 04/10/2009 15:29:37 MDT Print View

There's a write-up here:
Pages 11 & 12.


Edited by rcaffin on 04/10/2009 15:31:15 MDT.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: a walk of five weeks or so? on 04/10/2009 15:30:40 MDT Print View


Please setup your profile so people can pm you. I wanted to PM you to join the "Category:Chapters:Minnesota" in the Wiki, so that in future get-togethers for lunch or supper for the MN BPLers, you can show up.

We're getting together this coming April 18 at the Highland Grill for lunch, Saturday, next.

Capper Nichols
(cappernichols) - F

Locale: Minnesota
thanks.... on 04/12/2009 14:42:56 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the suggestions--I'm torn between the many options, but it seems it'll be hard to go wrong. I've long wanted to walk the JMT, but mid-summer I was worried a bit about crowding....

Matt asked about the Border Route Trail. Briefly, I'll say I found it pretty dang rugged, when I walked the trail three years ago. The thing is, very little of the trail is maintained (only some parts on the western end), and few people use it (in the BWCA visitors prefer canoes). Many deadfalls to climb over, beaver pond flooded sections to bushwhack around.... and the trail is largely overgrown by June. I went in mid-May, before the brush gets thick. Oh, yeah, and it's not marked, and in some parts the trail seems to disappear.... On the other hand, it's beautiful country, and in four days I saw three people.

As for the Larapinta, Michael, I do intend to put up a report later this week. I've got photos and a link to my web log of the trip.

Any other ideas about this summer and a five-week hike, I'm interested....