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  1. #1

    Default Section hiking the PCT

    Just finished section hiking the AT this summer and am now looking to begin the PCT. Was hoping for some help in figuring out how to section hike. My limitations:

    1) Have to go in the summer (I'm a teacher)
    2) 10 day minimum, 3 week maximum so wife doesn't divorce me.
    3) Need transportation to/from trailheads

    Other than that, I'm flexible on NOBO or SOBO, bouncing around, etc.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    PAFARMBOY

  2. #2

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    It gets expensive doing all that flying, but hopefully lonehiker can chime in at some point...he is/has been section hiking the PCT.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by DuneElliot View Post
    It gets expensive doing all that flying, but hopefully lonehiker can chime in at some point...he is/has been section hiking the PCT.
    If the PA location is correct, travel will be a killer. You'll eat up a good 3-4 days going back and forth. So at best your looking at a 2.5 week hiking window. Assuming you can do 20 mile days out there, that gives you about a 360 mile range. Oregon and Washington is 1005 miles, so you could potentially do those three states in 3 seasons.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  4. #4
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    CDT. Airfare to Denver can be cheap. You could do sections north and south from Denver for a few summers. You can fly to Steamboat Springs and Durango also. Both are near the CDT.
    The north end has air travel to Kalispel, MT. Yellowstone is served by airports in West Yellowstone, MT and Jackson Hole airport in Wyoming.
    New Mexico is sketchy for airports near the trail.
    Wayne


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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    CDT. Airfare to Denver can be cheap. You could do sections north and south from Denver for a few summers. You can fly to Steamboat Springs and Durango also. Both are near the CDT.
    The north end has air travel to Kalispel, MT. Yellowstone is served by airports in West Yellowstone, MT and Jackson Hole airport in Wyoming.
    New Mexico is sketchy for airports near the trail.
    Wayne


    Old. Slow. "Smarter than the average bear."
    PCT, not CDT

  6. #6

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    Some sections will be fairly easy: The southern end, Sierras, within 200 miles, OR, WA by using San Diego, Reno, Portland, Seattle respectively, and then buses.
    Hitchiking a bit at the end to get somewhere to get a bus again.
    Problems will be in the other sections (northern CA) but I would think Sacramento, or even San Fran would help. ( once took a bus from Arcata (a hitch away from Etna Pass), to San Fran.
    Greyhound can suck but it's cheap and (somewhat) reliable.
    Asland OR, Redding CA, can also help you out.
    It's a big, long trail with lots of options.
    Maybe would help you to be more specific and certain sections once your plans are closer for each year.
    I used to hitchhike a lot (even did from Bishop to Vegas once, but that was tough as death valley was a long, hot wait between rides)
    Doubt that's cool anymore, so buses or shuttles or help from whiteblaze or pct-l members might be your best bet sometimes.
    If you have frequent flyer miles, remember, you can do small airports usually (like Palm Springs, CA, or Bend, OR) instead of only the bigger ones: Reno, Sacramento, SEattle, etc.
    Good luck and have fun.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

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    Garlic
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    Yeah, the successful PCT section hikers I met live out there and are really plugged into their local hiking communities for help with logistics. It would be tough to go it alone. But hey, it's not supposed to be easy--nothing worthwhile ever is easy. Best of luck!

    (You could do a Colorado Trail hike in two seasons with those limitations.)
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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    Garlic
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    Yeah, the successful PCT section hikers I met live out there and are really plugged into their local hiking communities for help with logistics. It would be tough to go it alone. But hey, it's not supposed to be easy--nothing worthwhile ever is easy. Best of luck!

    (You could do a Colorado Trail hike in two seasons with those limitations.)
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    Yeah, the successful PCT section hikers I met live out there and are really plugged into their local hiking communities for help with logistics. It would be tough to go it alone. But hey, it's not supposed to be easy--nothing worthwhile ever is easy. Best of luck!

    (You could do a Colorado Trail hike in two seasons with those limitations.)
    And there is a difference between long sections over 4-8 weeks, which means the trail could be done in 3-4 trips, than short sections of 2+ weeks which would require a dozen or more trips.

    Not in any way trying to discourage the OP here, especially if there's no goal to section hike the entire thing, but it's good to have all the information you can get your hands on. With a trip like section hiking the PCT I'd try to convince your wife to let you be gone for more time.

  10. #10
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    Couple of thoughts and comments, simply because I just finished the AT last fall and I plan on sectioning the PCT as well....

    I did the AT in 6 sections, and though it was kinda expensive to fly to/from the eastern US six times, it wasn't bad, most one-way flights were in the low $100's range, you just have to shop and be flexible, so I'm guessing you can do the same to various points in California (& OR & WA) from PA for your PCT sections.

    If you're not already, become familiar with Southwest Airlines, a very "hiker friendly" airline (despite a recent problem a WB member had with them trying to get to Denver!). What I mean by this is that they have no change fees and free checked baggage. On many of my AT sections I did go ahead and anticipate my return flight date, but along the way when I was either behind or ahead of my schedule, a couple of times I did change my return flight at zero cost or even a refund (if your return fare is cheaper than original, which does happen, though it can go the other way, of course). But don't confuse "no change fees" with "no fare differences"; for example, if you wait until the last minute to change a flight, the fare can go up dramatically. this happened one time for me; I was ahead of schedule and wanted to come home a couple days early, but the $100 return fare went up to $400 or something silly for a 2-day from then, 2-day earlier flight. So instead I found a cheap jet-blue flight home and "banked" the original SW return flight amount to be used on my next section. great flexibility when you fly SW airlines. Not sure where in PA you are, but SW does fly to Pittsburg, Philly and Newark. DIRT cheap flights from Denver to Newark ($200 roundtrip), perhaps also dirt cheap from Newark to various CA/NV/OR/WA cities near enough to the trail to be useful (reno, vegas, san diego, LA, Portland, seattle).

    I actually enjoyed planning my AT sections, and have already started planning my first couple PCT sections using a similar method (basically google earth, the PCT guide and a spreadsheet).

    It turns our 3 week sections are what I plan as well, for various reasons. What you are going to have to figure out is how to deal with the southern/desert/hot sections with your constraint of having to do this strictly in the summer. Perhaps you can pick on that part of the trail during your winter/xmas break period if that works with your wife/family?

    Just some thoughts. I'm early in my PCT planning as well, but given complete success on the AT sectioning, I anticipate no problems with PCT sectioning, even given the notable trail differences.

  11. #11

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    Thanks for all the good advice. Since I've posted this I've found a trail angel to shuttle me to Hart's Pass and I mapped out a tentative section schedule as shown below. Figured the places below would at least get me into a town where I can get out relatively easily and get home. Like colorado_Rob, planning it all out every year is half the fun. Great point by Slo-go-en about the travel cutting into the days though. Lots of good info out there on the web too. Found this site really informative and seems to be updates often http://asthecrowflies.org/pctpacific...il-town-guide/ Thanks to everyone who replied. I appreciate it.

    Section Year Start Finish trail miles Section miles
    1 Wash 2017 Northern Terminus Snoqualmie Pass ski 260.2 miles 260.2
    2 Wash 2018 Snoqualmie Pass ski lifts Bridge of the Gods Columbia Gorge 515.5 miles 255.3
    3 Or 2019 Bridge of the Gods Columbia Gorge Elk Lake Resort 710.5 miles 195
    4 Or 2020 Elk Lake Resort callahans Lodge 944.9 miles 234.4
    5 CA 2021 callahans Lodge burney mountain guest ranch 1242.9 miles 298
    6 CA 2022 burney mountain guest ranch Echo Lake & Chalet near Lake Tahoe 1557.8 miles 314.9
    7 CA 2023 Echo Lake & Chalet near Lake Tahoe Vermillion Valley Resort 1781.3 miles 223.5
    8 CA 2024 Vermillion Valley Resort 2008.8 Bus route?? 2008.8 miles 227.5
    9 CA 2025 2008.8 Bus route?? Cajon Pass 2308.0 miles 299.2
    10 CA 2026 Cajon Pass Campo 2650.1 miles 342.1

  12. #12

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    Looks like you got it figure...glad to hear. Have fun and keep a blog!

  13. #13
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuneElliot View Post
    PCT, not CDT
    I knew that. I was offering an alternative.
    HYOH.
    Wayne


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    What I've found in the western states is a lot of local small bus options to get to the trail in many locations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DuneElliot View Post
    And there is a difference between long sections over 4-8 weeks, which means the trail could be done in 3-4 trips
    How might one go about hiking the PCT in 3 sections? I'm leaning toward section hiking PCT for two-ish months at a clip so I can keep my IT contractor income and not be entirely homeless again after a thru hike. First section would likely start next August. I've got Yogi's 2016 guide, but it would be great to hear recommendations to zero-in on. I'm totally fine with the travel cost.

  16. #16
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudeijuststarted View Post
    How might one go about hiking the PCT in 3 sections? I'm leaning toward section hiking PCT for two-ish months at a clip so I can keep my IT contractor income and not be entirely homeless again after a thru hike. First section would likely start next August. I've got Yogi's 2016 guide, but it would be great to hear recommendations to zero-in on. I'm totally fine with the travel cost.
    There is a companion thread here about where and how to cover miles in the fall and early winter. That might help you.
    Next August. Do you mean hit the trail making big miles August 1? Or I'm heading to the airport the first half of August. Making big miles by the 25?
    Your best bet is probably to start at the Canadian border and knock out as many miles as possible before the trail gets snowed in.
    Or a similar tactic from about the middle SOBO.
    Lots of ways to spend 2 months on the trails. Getting through Washington without snow is a plus.
    Wayne


    Old. Slow. "Smarter than the average bear."
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
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  17. #17
    Registered User dudeijuststarted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    There is a companion thread here about where and how to cover miles in the fall and early winter. That might help you.
    Next August. Do you mean hit the trail making big miles August 1? Or I'm heading to the airport the first half of August. Making big miles by the 25?
    Your best bet is probably to start at the Canadian border and knock out as many miles as possible before the trail gets snowed in.
    Or a similar tactic from about the middle SOBO.
    Lots of ways to spend 2 months on the trails. Getting through Washington without snow is a plus.
    Wayne


    Old. Slow. "Smarter than the average bear."
    That gets me started. Thanks Venchka!

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