The trail is still calling, but I am not sure if I will be able to go during winter break as planned. Maybe. It depends if a friend wants to go with me. It depends on whether I need to get work done during that time. Unfortunately, because of the Christmas holiday, there is limited time available then for me to interview people for my master's thesis research, since you can't call people up on Christmas.
At any rate, another hiker posted his lessons learned from two previous hikes of Section A of the PCT. I found his reflections very helpful, and asked if I could repost it. Since he said yes, here it is...
"Day 1 ---- 2008 --- Campo to Lake Morena -- 20 miles. The last 5 miles is pretty much up the mountain. 2011 --- Campo to Hauser Creek -- 15.4 miles. I learned from '08 that I had pushed myself to hard that first day. I plan on Hauser again next year even if there is no water. I'll pack it!!
Day 2 ---- 2008 --- Lake Morena to Kitchen Creek -- 10 miles. I was sore and beat from doing 20 on the first day so I took my time and laid up early!! 2011 --- Hauser Creek to Fred Canyon -- 17.2 miles. By laying up at Hauser and making the climb to Lake Morena I felt much more refreshed.
Day 3 ---- 2008 --- Kitchen Creek to GATR Road -- 18.9 miles. By stopping early I felt much better the next day. Made it to GATR Road with time to stop at Mt. Laguna and hang out at the store for awhile. 2011 --- Fred Canyon to GATR Road -- 16.7 miles. Plenty of time to hang out at Mt. Laguna.
Day 4 ---- 2008 and 2011 --- GATR Road to Rodriguez Spur -- 19.6 miles. Rodriguez Spur is a good stopping place to set you up for the longest day. With the removal of the Scissor Crossing water cache the next day will be long and you will have to pack a lot of water unless you go into Julian.
Day 5 ---- 2008 and 2011 --- Rodriguez Spur to Third Gate -- 22.8 miles. Start early because after you drop down to the valley after 9 miles you go back up and hike along the side of the mountain till you get to Third Gate. Can get very hot!!
Day 6 ---- 2008 and 2011 --- Third Gate to Warner Springs -- 17.4 miles. Left early, easy day. Even with 17 miles you can still get there before the Post Office closes.
So there you go. As you can see the last few days were the same. There is no need to push yourself the first 100. You will have plenty of time for that once your body is in trail shape. As far as water is concerned I plan to carry water based on drinking a liter for every 3-5 miles. That means, for me, 5 liters on the 22.8 mile day."