[pct-l] Why Manning by mid-September

ned at pacificcrestcustombuilders.com ned at pacificcrestcustombuilders.com
Mon Jan 18 15:13:03 CST 2010

I really appreciated Andrea's "opinion" regarding reaching Manning by mid-September, before the early snows start flying. 

What research I did by talking with PNW Rangers and Park Administrators indicated that if I didn't get to Canada by early September, the usual early snow storms would bring my dreams of a PCT completion to an abrupt end. Since then, hiker testimonies and trail journals show exactly that happening to many. 

So, rather than hiking for 5 months only to be stopped short of the goal, I decided to start "early," of course back then there was no "early." That is why we encourage aspiring thru hikers to:

one, know themselves well enough to decide whether they are "hikers" or "campers," gleaning what they truly want to get out of their expedition, meaning how many miles per day they are willing to do,

two, divide that daily amount into the trail total to get their total number of hiking days,

three, add in the number of "days off" of "zero days" they anticipate they want per week for relaxation, exploration, laundry, peak climbing, side trail wandering, fishing, picture-taking, resupplies, or just plain goofing off, 

four, guess at the end date they're willing to continue hiking to while risking running into early season storms, 

then, five, back-count the total hiking days and days off from this end date to establish their start date.

This way an easy pace, based on past long-trail hiking experience, is established and a schedule set that allows for maximum fun and wilderness absorption within the parameters of disabling weather at the end. 

Snow is not an obstacle if realistically planned for. It is a joy of awesome beauty not to be missed! You will have to walk over the stuff somewhere along the route, so learn what it will do to your menu, daily mileage expectations, gear needs, and overall risk before you finish planning. The only thing supposedly "wrong" with leaving before the end of April is that you may not have dry trail all the way. Learning how to handle inclement weather, dangerous creek crossings, bears, bugs, and snow-covered trail makes the hiker stronger, more versatile, confident, talented, competent, wisely independent, capable, more of a "mountain man" or "mountain woman," and, personally, better off for it!

Most of all, our plea to future thru hikers is this, plan your trip for who you are, know why you are doing it and what you want to get out of it, as realistically-based as possible (personal hiking realizations and choices and the advice of those who have gone before), and for as long a period of time as you can (to reduce your daily mileage demand and maximize your wilderness fun-time). 

Everyone goes into the mountains with their own personal and societal baggage and expectations, but we base our plea on the assumption that the majority of long-distance thru hikers want to spend time in the mountains rather than run away from society (though reality is a mixture of both). Wilderness is medicinal. Give this therapist as much time as you can!

And be careful out there!

Mtnned & Lady J
Mountain Education
South Lake Tahoe, Ca
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Andrea Dinsmore 
  To: ned at pacificcrestcustombuilders.com 
  Cc: Eugene ; PCT MailingList 
  Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 2:56 PM
  Subject: Re: [pct-l] Fw: [DCSAR] Interesting and ominous weather predication

  Here in Skykomish, WA this winter is very light. Last 2 years at this time we had 6' (feet) of snow at 1000 foot elevation. Steven's Pass 4000' trailhead) had record snow fall. This year now we are only 75" at the ski area and nothing at 1000'. Unless snow piles up between now and April there shouldn't be alot to deal with by next September. If you don't make it up here by mid September you will get into the new snow for next winter. Bide your time and partying and get your butts up here. Otherwise you will deal will the cold, lots of rain and the beginnings of the winter. I know you think you're tough but you will kick yourself in the rear when you are soaked to the bone, water running under your sleeping bag and you're colder than $hi$. 

  Just a Mother's opinion.......


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