[pct-l] Thruhiking 2017

ned at mountaineducation.org ned at mountaineducation.org
Fri Feb 10 10:33:01 CST 2017

Ben, Gary, and the greater thru-hiking community,

Let's talk thruhiking the PCT in blunt, realistic terms everyone can

1. It's an adventure on the outside and a journey on the inside. It is not
for the inexperienced, but 70% of all permit applicants have never done a
thru hike before. It is sad that 70%, also, don't complete their original
dream of hiking the trail. What a surprise? Not really.

2. It is a national treasure of scenic beauty worthy of your time and, if
you can spend the necessary amount to thru hike it, it can change your life.
The inexperienced and naive want a "Yellow Brick Road," a freeway experience
where they can just saunter along without a care, listening to their music,
and staring at the trail while feeling free to complain that the hiking is
so hard and uncomfortable. (I'm trying to paint a picture of what I see
happening more and more every year out there and not being literal). Take in
everything with all your senses and discover how to live the trail life.
Don't skip or flip around your challenges because the underlying avoidance,
of the issue and the learning, will not go away and will be challenged again
in the next storm, at the next creek, when you get hungry and have to push
on. Greet the Sierra and receive all she has to teach. Learn how to overcome
your trials for they will become the stories told which will inspire others
to do the same!

3. It is stupid to assume that you can plan and prepare for such an
adventure, while never having done anything remotely like it before, in just
a few months. Sure, the dream may have been thought about for a year, maybe,
but the actual doing, researching, training, and practicing typically only
happens for a few months these days. People get caught up in the excitement
and don't delve too deeply into the reality. They function under the
assumption that if they have the right lightweight gear, they'll be golden,
never get lost, always be warm and dry, can cook anywhere, and call for help
at any time.

4. What Ben is asking shows that he is at least aware and wanting to be
responsible to himself and the community and that is good, but it still
shows that we, who have done the trail and should be mentoring each new
class to their success, are not reaching their preparation needs. As Gary
said, part of thru hiking is rising to the task, taking what comes, and
going the distance as much as you can and are willing because the trials and
challenges ahead on the trail are what make you the changed and better
individual when you come out at the end. When thru hikers are asked, "What
were your favorite parts of the trail?" most say, "The Sierra and the North
Cascades." Don't miss an inch! Learn how to overcome your fears, your
concerns, by finding out how others did it, then practice and prepare. 

Ben, you and Lauren will have the adventure of your lifetimes! Find out what
the realities will be, painful and glorious, train for them, and meet them
head-on. Remember, you walk on top of snow, no matter how deep, learn how to
cross creeks safely, watch the skies for weather changes, eat as much food
as you can carry, be wise, and stay on the trail.

Ned Tibbits, Director
Mountain Education, Inc.
ned at mountaineducation.org 

-----Original Message-----
From: Pct-L [mailto:pct-l-bounces at backcountry.net] On Behalf Of Ben Friedman
Sent: Thursday, February 9, 2017 7:34 AM
To: Pct-L at backcountry.net
Subject: [pct-l] Thruhiking 2017

Good morning, PCT-ers!

My partner Lauren and I have a start date on April 26 in Campo and have been
beside ourselves with excitement.

But I want to be straightforward- we are beginning to doubt the prospect of
a true NoBo thru-hike, starting in Mexico and hiking to Canada without
flipflopping or multi-week waiting in KM. The snowfall is clearly prodigious
this year, a year to remember. The number of emails on this listserv
discussing entering KM significantly later than usual, the immense snowpack,
etc is concerning. If the snow is a challenge well into the summer, won't
that mean thru hikers will be entering the volatile/unpredictable North
Cascades too late?

Not trying to be a debbie-downer. This hike has been a dream for us for most
of our lives and we want to make this work so so bad-- we're just trying to
figure out how to maximize our PCT time. As a plan B, should we bag the PCT
start date and notion of a thru-hike, and simply decide to start at Kennedy
Meadows in the summer and just see how far our legs take us thru Labor Day?

Thanks to you all, for this great community and advice!

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