Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Registered User -Ghost-'s Avatar
    Join Date
    09-18-2006
    Location
    Morgantown, WV
    Age
    32
    Posts
    149
    Images
    20

    Default Few Misc. PCT Questions

    Completed my 2011 AT Thru-Hike and have the opportunity to do a PCT thru hike in my transition when moving from the East coast to Seattle. Have almost acquired all my gear for my 2017 Thru-Hike (take a look at my gear list maybe?) but have a few random questions that I couldn't find specific answers for in the FAQ on Postholer. Plan on going NOBO starting in April. Ill decide exactly when based on this years snowfall and acquire my permit accordingly.


    1) First is getting to the trail head. I will definitely fly from Seattle into San Diego. Is a bus/taxi from the El Cajon Transit center the most popular route? Taxi to campo is a bit pricey but seems the most straightforward. Anybody have any experience with either? Any other alternatives that arent mentioned yet?


    2) Bear bagging in general. Im real comfortable/familiar with this on the East coast, but dont know what the etiquette is on the West. Obviously in areas where a bear canister is required I will use it. But what do most people do in Southern California or Washington for example? On the AT it was easy enough at the shelter.



    3) Maps/guide. What do most people carry? On the AT all I needed was a guidebook with resupply and town information. Do I need full maps a compass? Or is the free information on Postholer sufficient?




    I think those are the 3 main things. Appreciate any feedback. If anyone is going to be out there this spring let me know!


    -Ghost-

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-17-2005
    Location
    Ambler, PA
    Posts
    594
    Images
    5

    Default

    1) There is a good network of SD trail angels to get you to Campo.
    2) I occasionally bear bag outside to required canister zones. The desert does not have good hangs, but also few bears.
    3) I recommend an online connection with a smart phone to: water report, facebook, weather, etc. I recommend paper maps/compass and a gps phone app. I have used halfmile and Guthook gps apps. Yogi has a good guide, and they print maps.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-16-2011
    Location
    On the trail
    Posts
    3,788
    Images
    3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ARambler View Post
    1) There is a good network of SD trail angels to get you to Campo.
    2) I occasionally bear bag outside to required canister zones. The desert does not have good hangs, but also few bears.
    3) I recommend an online connection with a smart phone to: water report, facebook, weather, etc. I recommend paper maps/compass and a gps phone app. I have used halfmile and Guthook gps apps. Yogi has a good guide, and they print maps.
    Agree with all of the above.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  4. #4

    Default

    1) Arranging a trail angel ride to Campo from SD is probably the easiest and most straight forward. I've offered gas money, buying b'fast, buying a coffee, etc. I suggest you do the same. At least offer! It contributes to a better and more conscientious trail culture and you..

    I've done it other ways as well. I've met up with other PCTers staying in SD their first night after flying or driving in at one of the cheap hostels in the Gaslamp District. Usually a friend or a shuttle splitting the cost between 3-4 of us drive us to the TH. I will not do that again though as I'm too much a tight wad and I enjoy the 2 hr car or $5 bus ride that can be attained at lower cost. I also like the convenience of not having to arrange my start date to coincide with 3- 4 others. I don't know how you approach a thru-hike but I explore and seek a greater experience than just hiking on thru-hikes. I like walking around the Gaslamp District, grabbing a drink, checking out the scene, going to the pool hall, walking to the coast, taking in a sunset over the Pacific, getting a meal, etc pre hike. I met two guys, one an REI Board Member, at the SD REI and overheard they were starting the next day another time. Struck up a conversation. I chipped in getting a ride with them dropped off at the southern terminus by a friend of theirs driving his own car. I call it "working your getting a ride mojo" without resorting to sticking a thumb out standing on the Hwy. One time I took the #894 bus to the Forest Service Rd stop where there's a Border Patrol Office and a nearby convenience store where it was easy to get a quick ride to the southern terminus by having it offered without asking or hitching. All these occasions were in April a busy PCT NOBO starting time. All these times were two yrs ago or more. It's my guess now more than ever considering the rise in PCT popularity you'll likely meet other PCTers in SD in the first 2-3 wks in April.

    2) In SoCal there will definitely be some opportunity to effectively bear bag which I sometimes do. It's not like there are only Joshua Trees all the way from Campo to KM. BTW you can bear bag effectively on the largest Joshua trees but where they are usually is not prime bear habitat. I don't overly concern myself about protecting food from bears in the lowest PCT elevation areas in the desert in SoCal as that isn't typical bear habitat. I tend to camp away from others that use beaten down CS's so I find that contributes to having less of a need to protect food from bears because of food associations by wildlife reacting to poor himan/bear interactions. In these cases I will consider sleeping with my food(as my pillow) which can be effective when done with a wider consideration. At these times I will use a Opsack storing food in it and then storing the Opsack in something like a S2S Ultra Sil Nano Dry Sack(has a foldable top). http://www.seatosummit.com/product/?...o2=0&o3=511-32 NEVER had a bear problem doing that. In Canada or grizz territory I reconsider! In a few place in SoCal at some FS CGs for example there are bear boxes. I can think of at least four sites near/on the PCT in SoCal I stored food in off the top of my head. Bears are one thing but protecting food from rodents, squirrels, and birds should also be considered. As Trauma said 'bears get all the ink but it's wildlife like these that one usually has the most issues with food." Again, these wildlife issues virtually always are more problematic when opting to stay in areas where humans tend to habitually camp/congregate. HYOH

    On a side note, with PCT wildlife I'm a little more BUT NOT OVERLY concerned with scorpions in my shoes or getting into my gear or stepping on or reaching into or around a bush, log, or packing up, etc encountering a rattle snake. Since I like hiking during night I feel I especially have to be considerate.

    In WA I always bear bag in the N. Cascades area since it has both Brown and Black bears. Again, in several place where I've camped on PCT hikes there are bear boxes in WA. In the south outside of Grizz range where black bears are not know to associate food with humans I sleep with food as above.


    3) I agree with AR. I was just on the PCT in OR and almost every PCTer both SOBO and NOBO I met and talked to are doing apps on smartphones these days, some exclusively, which I don't agree with, and some also carrying paper maps as back up. I personally am a map person wanting to design my hikes as I see fit not playing this follow the leader cookie cutter LD hiking approach that demands the trail is here and only here don't deviate from the blazes follow the Interstate Super Hiker HWY signage get er dun thru-hiking is only about experiencing hiking notion so I like the big picture of high quality laser color print topos on 8.5 X 11 of the PCT for worthy to explore alternates, added on adventures, and for periodic trail closures from events like fires on the PCT. For me it gets back to the essence of adventure and embracing the unfamiliar weather than just "bagging another trail." I'm a little old school but in some situations, like out off season non-typical timeframes, I'll also do both GPS and paper maps. I think navigation by maps and compass is a necessary skill to have as a well rounded backpacker.

  5. #5
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-03-2005
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,437

    Default

    On bear bagging: on my thru, I used a bear canister where required in the Sierra. Elsewhere though, I slept with my food under my feet every night on the trail. I never had any problems.

    BUT...I thru-hiked in '09 when there were maybe 300 thru hikers. Now there are over 3,000. It is only a matter of time before bears and other wildlife get wise to the presence of all that food along the trail. If I hiked again, I would plan to hang my food except when down in the desert. As mentioned above, it's probably safe to assume you won't see any bears at the lowest elevations. Up high, though, they're around.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-13-2012
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    61

    Default

    Everyone who already posted pretty much has you covered. But for some commentary:

    1. I was also thinking about skipping the trail angels in San Diego, but I am so glad I didn't. I got to meet other hikers who I still keep in contact with, and a really cool trail angel who is as much a part of the community as we are. I didn't stay with them, but I've heard from several people that Scout and Frodo's house (the SD trail angels who take in the most hikers) was their favorite trail angel experience of the entire trail.

    2. I brought line to bear bag and didn't use it once. I used my canister in all the required areas and otherwise kept it in an OPSak right next to my head. No problems at all, not even mice. I also tended to camp away from the more popular campsites, which may have helped, but there were plenty of nights I camped around 5 or 6 other tents. My logic was that sleeping next to my food was better than a crappy bear hang done at 8PM when all I wanted to do was go to sleep. It's my understanding that there a very, very few grizzlies in the North Cascades, and if they were common I probably would have opted for a bear hang. All depends on what you're comfortable with

  7. #7

    Default

    The easiest way to get to Campo is to take the bus.

    There are not many bears in SoCal. I've seen one in the past 4 years, and thousands of miles of hiking. Don't camp in heavily camped areas. Find spots that aren't well used. Bears are more of a problem in places like Yosemite, Bishop Pass, etc.

    I use backcountry navigator with accuterra maps and halfmiles waypoints.

    One thing I would recommend is sun protection. Make sure you cover your whole body. Skin cancer sucks, and those ****ty tan lines will last for months.

  8. #8

    Default

    Just hiked the PCT this year.
    1. There is a cheap bus that goes from San Diego to Campo
    2. Myself and everyone I met slept with their food in their tents, except in the Sierra where you will have a bear canister
    3. The PCT isn't like it used to be. It's pretty easy to follow and pretty hard to lose trail. Maps are helpful in high snow areas but other than that download Halfmile's PCT application on your phone, it's a gps app. I also carried pages from Yogi;s guide, mostly for town info.
    - Young Blood | AT2015 | PCT2016 | CDT2017

  9. #9

    Default

    1. I used the bus to get to Campo - no problem.
    2. Bear bagged and used bear boxes where necessary or provided - don't think there'll be much sign of bear or need to bearbag etc in Southern California. Food in tent on two occasions in the Sierra, though was uneasy doing it so personally wouldn't recommend it.
    3. Did the 'thru' using trail guides only. (Wilderness Press which had strip maps in guides) No problems apart from a bit of trail location confusion in a couple of snowed in parts of the High Sierra. Generally found the trail is easy to follow and I'm guessing it's getting easier with increased popularity - especially if not one of the first through an area. Didn't have cellphone or gps. Took and used a compass which was useful for sorting out trail junctions/trail off shoots.
    I think the PCT is probably more remote than the AT as far as 'town supply' goes, so you may want to consider using 'bounce boxes' when you have the opportunity or external 'mailed' resupply. Some of the small places don't have much in the way of 'selection' and you could find them cleaned out of anything decent when you pass through!
    Having completed an AT thru-hike you should have no real problem tackling the PCT. Have a good one.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-16-2011
    Location
    On the trail
    Posts
    3,788
    Images
    3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Geo. View Post
    1. I used the bus to get to Campo - no problem.
    2. Bear bagged and used bear boxes where necessary or provided - don't think there'll be much sign of bear or need to bearbag etc in Southern California. Food in tent on two occasions in the Sierra, though was uneasy doing it so personally wouldn't recommend it.
    3. Did the 'thru' using trail guides only. (Wilderness Press which had strip maps in guides) No problems apart from a bit of trail location confusion in a couple of snowed in parts of the High Sierra. Generally found the trail is easy to follow and I'm guessing it's getting easier with increased popularity - especially if not one of the first through an area. Didn't have cellphone or gps. Took and used a compass which was useful for sorting out trail junctions/trail off shoots.
    I think the PCT is probably more remote than the AT as far as 'town supply' goes, so you may want to consider using 'bounce boxes' when you have the opportunity or external 'mailed' resupply. Some of the small places don't have much in the way of 'selection' and you could find them cleaned out of anything decent when you pass through!
    Having completed an AT thru-hike you should have no real problem tackling the PCT. Have a good one.
    The bolded approach will not work in an above average snow year. Unfortunately there have been several low snow years and when the first major snow year occurs there will be a lot of surprised folks with dead cell phones waiting around for people with real maps.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-15-2016
    Location
    Sierra Madre, California
    Posts
    275

    Default

    Bears will only be an issue in the national parks. Even that situation is improving as people are using bear cans. Hanging food in the parks will not work. I've woken up in the morning to see bear tracks going right by my bearikade. They don't even bother to try to open it.

    There are no bears south of I-10. Everywhere outside the parks I sleep with my food, or hang in a tree to avoid the rodents. No problems in 30 rears of backpacking in SoCal and the Sierra.

    I use the Wilderness Press guides. A friend uses Halfmile's app, between the two if us we have it all covered. Of course, I don't need to carry extra batteries for the books.

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •