Notes from the Field: Summer on the Pacific Crest Trail
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Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Notes from the Field: Summer on the Pacific Crest Trail on 10/24/2006 23:22:21 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Notes from the Field: Summer on the Pacific Crest Trail

Alfred Lemire
(atkeys91) - F
Bad photo ID on 10/25/2006 09:30:53 MDT Print View

Please kill this comment after it's read. A photo caption has "PCT legend Billy Goat (right) helps to pour drinks at the memorial ceremony for No Way Ray." Think that Billy Goat is on the left, because Don Wilson's copy refers to No Way Ray as "he," and the person on the right in the photo is male; the one on the left is female.

So Billy Goat must be on the left. This happens. Perhaps the print got reversed, somehow.

Adam McFarren
(amcfarre) - F
Re: Bad photo ID on 10/25/2006 09:38:37 MDT Print View

The memorial ceremony is for No Way Ray, not the drinks.

-adam

Alfred Lemire
(atkeys91) - F
And the Florida Trail? on 10/25/2006 10:04:53 MDT Print View

On a substantive note, the well-written article cautioned this reader to think again about his plans to hike on the Florida Trail this winter. Perhaps a Capielne T-shirt and shorts, terrific for the tree-shaded trails of the Northeast, won't be so good in sunny Florida, where the trail won't be almost continuous forest. One reads articles to learn new things and I did.

Randy Brissey
(rbrissey) - M

Locale: Redondo Beach, CA
Start Dates on 10/25/2006 13:43:54 MDT Print View

Hello Don,

I would like to know when you started the summer 2006 trip. I live in southern california and am thinking of doing the desert crossing in april during my schools vacation. Would it be possible to see a date vs location for the trip?

Randy Brissey

Nicholas Couis
(nichoco) - MLife
Which MHW shirt did you use on 10/25/2006 17:11:58 MDT Print View

Hi Don, Which MHW shirt did you use for your trip.Thanks, lots of good info.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Questions and Comment Response on 10/25/2006 22:59:37 MDT Print View

Hi everyone -

Thanks for the comments and questions.

Yes, Adam is correct re the photo ID. Sorry if that was confusing.

Alfred - yes, living in the desert has made me very sun conscious. It's wise to cover up, I think. And with today's clothing you can stay plenty cool even in miserable heat.

Randy - I started on June 12th in Mojave. April would be a better time to do the desert crossing. More flowers and cooler weather. But April is too early if you are also heading into the Sierras.

Nicholas - My MHW shirt is one I have had for a long time, so unfortunately I don't know the model same. And they no longer make that specific model. But they do make some other good choices - like the Canyon and Compass. I prefer to get these shirts nice and baggy for hot weather, so I get an XL.

Cheers,
Don

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
PCT from mojave onwards on 10/25/2006 23:52:31 MDT Print View

Don, thanks for such an insightful trip report.

I am toying with taking a year off post Uni and getting a round the world ticket, starting October 2007. Its highly likely I will stop in LA on the way through to the UK and Europe-my main targets.

I was thinking of doing about two or three weeks of walking on the PCT. I won't have time to do anymore-I'll need to be in Europe afterwards.

Would love to do the Desert section you just described, plus Get to Forester Pass. Once I have reaced the pass I will head down off the trail ASAP and get back to LA.

Being an Aussie I am not familiar with the logistics of this venture.

I will bring an Ice Axe from Aus for the Sierras, I'll just carry it through the desert with me. Is this Desert the one with Joshua Tree National Park, is it earlier on the trail, or am I getting confused with CDT? I'd like to visit Joshua tree if possible. I'll need to leave a heap of gear somewhere secure, probably in LA or in one of the towns on the route back. Does your tent need to be capable of handling snowloading for this section of the PCT? Also, is mid-late October too late for this trip-will the weather be getting too extreme in the Sierra without extensive Mountaineering gear and experience? I am an ace in Deserts, but don't have any experience yet on ice.

Anyone got any suggestions?

Sorry if i should have posted this one elsewhere but I figured that while we are on the topic...

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
PCT in October on 10/26/2006 08:04:05 MDT Print View

Adam -

That section of the PCT from Mojave to Forrester Pass is a nice section if you like the desert. But it will be late in the season and fresh, heavy snow is certainly possible in October. By October most of the snow from the previous winter will have melted, so new snow will be your primary concern. It is unlikely you will need an ice ax at all unless fresh snow hits.

The trail does not cross thru Joshua Tree National Park at all. The park is much further south and east. It is well worth visiting Joshua Tree though - it is one of my favorite places on the planet.

Don

Edited by don on 10/26/2006 20:53:58 MDT.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
Thanks on 10/27/2006 07:46:34 MDT Print View

I really enjoyed this article. Especially interesting were the comparison of multi-day to shorter hikes. Having read Cindy Ross and others, I did not realize that group companionship could be found on the PCT as it prevails on the AT. I now have to work on my wife on getting a month away to hike alone. I gave up on the Starlite pack a few years ago even though I liked having the shoulder straps with all the pockets. The shoulder straps were just not adjsutable enough, and I found the pack carrying too low over my butt. Altough I e-mailed my concerns to the website, I never got a response. I also think one of the advantages to low cut footwear is that they have just that much less material covering the foot that can chaffe and cause blisters. As I read in a book on footcare, it is not a matter of if you get blisters, but when! Luckily, the only thing I've ever needed from my first aid gear is stuff for foot care. Keep these articles coming. The opinions about gear are just an added bonus. Thanks, Don.

Edited by rambler on 10/27/2006 07:47:48 MDT.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: PCT in October on 10/27/2006 17:40:59 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reply Don!

I later found a couple of sites on Joshua Tree, so now I am more orientated!

Good to hear about the ice axe. I guess I would just have to make sure my tent is capable of withstanding the odd snow load.

I think I will definitely keep your 6 week trip on the cards as I determine the viability of an overseas trip.

Thanks Don!

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: Thanks on 10/27/2006 22:56:31 MDT Print View

Hi Frank -

Yes, you will be able to spend time with other hikers, especially in the southern portion of the PCT. During May and June hikers are all packed into a fairly small span of time. If you hike on the southern portion of the PCT when it is not "thru hiker season", then you will not see many other hikers. Even so, the number of hikers is far less than on the AT. Most days I saw very few hikers, maybe a few every day, but hikers tended to congregate at water sources to camp for the night. So it is easy to camp with others in many places, but also easy to be alone if you prefer.

Don

Randy Brissey
(rbrissey) - M

Locale: Redondo Beach, CA
Food and Weight on 10/29/2006 08:21:32 MST Print View

Hello Don,

One of the things that I am interested in with your experience of 6 weeks is the food aspect of it. How much lighter did you finish the trip compared to the start? The longest that I have been on the trail has been 30 days and when the group I was with hit a road crossing or supply point we ate everything. Did you consciously know that by being resupplied every 4-6 days keep your "on-the-trail food weight" lower and then "stock-up" in towns?
I keep rereading over some of the "endurance hikers" notes and see recurring theme where they are planning to lose three-forths to one and a quarter pounds per day. One guy reported a loss of 25 pounds in his 19 day record attempt.
These guys are starting ahead of the game (body fat wise) whereas a leaner backpacker has to carry more to offset.

Randy

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: Food and Weight on 10/29/2006 19:42:25 MST Print View

Hi Randy -

I am a pretty lean guy - 6 feet 4 inches, but only 175 pounds. In fact, I'm beyond lean and just downright skinny. It's hard for me to put on extra weight, though I guess that's a blessing most of the time.

So I was careful to carry a lot of food becuase I did not want to lose weight on the trail. I generally carried at least 2 and a half pounds per day, sometimes quite a bit more. As the hike progressed, I added more and more food to my pack. And of course I ate a ton of food when I was in town. I carried a lot of high fat foods such as peanut butter, sausages and olive oil. A typical dinner on the trail was an entire 8 ounce summer sausage, several ounces of trail mix, a 6 ounce package of Lipton dinners and maybe a few Pringles or other chips. That adds up to about 1600 calories just for dinner.

I can't believe I ate so much sausage on the trail. I just found I had a craving for them and I found them very filling.

At home I am almost a total vegetarian, but things change when you get on the trail.

My motto - carry a lot of food and eat it all!

When I got off the trail I had lost maybe 4 or 5 pounds. It only took me a few days to put that back on.

Don