I have been in the midst of planning out this year’s hike since January. It gets easier each year as all my gear sits in its own duffle in the garage and I have a box of food leftover from last year.
My original goal was to hike from due east of my house and hike to Wickiup Plains at the base of the South Sister in Oregon. It was at that spot in 1977, I was first introduced to the PCT.
3 years ago I started at Sonora Pass, where I thought it was closest to being east of my house. Well, a few weeks ago I decided to actually get on Google Earth and accurately mark where on the trail is due east. I am glad I did, because due east is actually closer to Tuolumne Meadows, so I started 50 or so miles too far north.
We have also planned a trip to Hawaii at the end of July which limits my typical 2 weeks on the trail.
After looking at the logistics of it all, I am taking a week during my typical mid July time frame and go as far north from Ashland as I can make it – probably somewhere around Willamette Pass. With a record snow year, we’ll see if that works out as I have to skirt McLoughlin, Sky Lakes, Crater Lake, Theilsen and Diamond Peak. All of which are bound to still have plenty of snow to cross in July.
Yosemite is out of the question as the elevation is 2000-3000 feet higher than Oregon and feet of snow still sitting on the ground. Given the recent heat wave and a major melt occurring, the rivers are swollen and dangerous.
Current Plan is Ashland to Chemult/Willamette pass in July, Yosemite to Sonora Pass in September.
This delays my goal to get to Bend by another year. Next year I will complete that as I will only be a few days from finishing that goal and them I can carry on and finish off Oregon and fly out of PDX.
Since January, I have Amtrak tickets to Ashland and from Chemult. A campsite reserved in Crater Lake for a night and my PCT permit sitting safe in my pack. Food is organized, bagged and a resupply box started. My GPS is updated, a new phone purchased with more memory for more photos and an external battery that replaces my solar panel that decided to stop being effective at charging anything.
My biggest concern is the weather and trail conditions. It was a crazy winter and up until a couple weeks ago it was still snowing in the mountains. I pour through the blog posts trying to get an update from anyone who is flipping up to Oregon. So far it appears many people are jumping forward to Sierra City or Belden. Only a few I have found have jumped to Ashland but are heading south, the same section I did last year, but with a lot more snow to contend with.
We’ll see what happens in the next couple weeks and see if more snow melts off, but it is gearing up for a wet and mosquito ridden July hike through Southern Oregon, but at least I will be ‘Home’.
…The day is near…I’ll be back on the trail in 2 days!
Start weight is at 35 pounds…ugh… 5 days of food..But, I’ll eat the heavy stuff first.