Saturday, May 28, 2016

Snow coverage

I'm showing a screen shot of a map which shows snow depth along the first sections of the PCT planned for this summer.
The top center is where the trail crosses highway 5 in southern Oregon and curves west before dropping south, then north and into the higher mountains. As you can see there is light blue along the first part, along the Ca/Or border. Then the snow doesn't register as deep till the trail gets down below the town of Etna and the last section before Castilia. Castle Crags area.
From the feedback I got online yesterday, by folks who live in the area, the snow is deep, the ice is treacherous, the downed trees are many and folks have turned back rather than try to push through this part of the trail. Well damn. It looks like I'm gonna have to adapt and change my plans. I have no death wish.

My new plan is to start at Castilla and head south, leaving on June 30th instead of June 12th. That northern section is just too much for my skill set and I don't want to be out there alone in difficult conditions. So once again my best laid plans need to change with the circumstances. In that vein I purchased a train ticket from San Jose, CA to Dunsmuir, CA and will start walking south June 30. Decision made!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


And it just keeps snowing! Northern California just got dumped on last weekend and it's still pretty cool up north, which means the snow isn't melting very fast. So what to do? There is still almost three weeks to go before I take off but no one knows what the trail conditions are on the ground. Will there be impassable snow? How many blow downs will there be? I don't guess I'll need to worry much about water for drinking but what about stream crossings?
Washington, south of Packwood Glacier
While this photo was taken in Washington in August, the snow I might encounter in N. Cal would likely be in the trees with an unknown number of down trees blocking the trail. Some smaller and low to the ground which require crawling, some really big like the one L is climbing over here. Either way it gets very tiring trying to hike a trail that isn't yet cleared for the season.

Another option I am considering is to hike north from Southern Oregon where I got off the trail in 2012. There will still be snow on the ground and probably trees down as well, but the trail itself isn't as exposed, meaning less steep and rugged. Let's say, fewer cliffs to fall off of. That part appeals to me somehow. I'm basicly a chicken when it comes to dangerous situations and prefer not to expose myself to unnecessary risk, especially when I am hiking solo.

So I'm on the horns of a dilemma. I have to mail my first resupply box by early next week and where I mail it is dependant on which way I'm gonna hike... north or south. Help!