Wednesday, January 18, 2017

PCT Resources

If you're going to hike any part of the PCT (or all of it) there are a number of resources that are your friends. Here they are:

  1. Permits: You need three permits to hike the whole trail.
    • A hiking permit if you are hiking 500 or more miles on the trail (you'll need to get permits for only the area(s) you are hiking in if you are hiking less than 500 miles on the trail).
    • A California fire permit to use any fire in California, even just your cookstove.
    • A Candian entry permit if you are going all the way to the trail's Northern Terminus in Manning Park.
  2. Halfmile's maps: All of the maps you need for the entire trail, printable on normal sized paper. These are nice topos with campsites and water and other waypoints marked. They include pretty much any information you need like addresses for resupply locations all in one spot. And they are free. Get them here.
  3. More goodies from Halfmile are below.
  4. Postholer's data: Another major source of data and maps is Postholer.
  5. PCTWater.com: This site is a crowdsourced effort to provide up to date water information, particularly for parts of the trail that are very dry. Find it here.
  6. A guide to trail towns: There are several trail town guides available, including some books for purchase, but this one is available online for free.
  7. Craig's PCT Planner: This allows you to put in when and where you're starting, where you are going to resupply, how fast you hike, and how far you are going, and it tells you when you'll arrive at each location. It's a handy way to figure out how much food to put in each resupply and when to send them to each location. Find it here
  8. Weather Reports: There are two available. The first might have better information but the second offers weather for more locations.
  9. The PCTA: The Pacific Crest Trail Association provides permits to anyone hiking over 500 miles. They also do a lot of great work on the trail, and provide info about the trail. Find them here.
  10. Facebook PCT Groups: Each class of PCT hikers has its own group. Search for PCT Class of 20xx and you'll find the year you're looking for. This is an amazing resource where you can connect with thru-hikers, section hikers, former hikers, and trail angels. You can ask them anything, and find answers you didn't know you needed to questions you didn't think to ask.
  11. A list of trail angels: There are lots of wonderful people dedicated to helping you along the way and you can find a list of them here. You can also find some trail angels through the PCT Facebook group
  12. Highway Intersections: This map shows where highways intersect the PCT. It is helpful if you are looking for where to start or end a hike, or where to get off the trail.
  13. Books:
    • Yogi's PCT Handbook is the book I've seen recommended by PCT hikers.
    • The Wilderness Press guides are the books I have (SoCal, NorCal, and WA/OR. I mainly use them for the data, which I typed into a spreadsheet. Now I just refer to the spreadsheet instead of the books. If that's all you want, you can just get their data book.
    • If you are new to backpacking, I recommend Wilderness Basics. It's written by the San Diego Sierra Club and it's the book I used to learn how to hike and backpack. The perk to using this book is that the authors base their knowledge on the places San Diegans hike most: the chaparral, mountains, and desert of SoCal and the Sierras. In other words, the exact terrain you are hiking for the first 1000 or so miles of your hike.
  14. LighterPack: Less important but still useful is the site LighterPack, which allows you to post a gear list and then try different scenarios to see how you can lighten your pack. You can also share your gear list and ask others to make recommendations.

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