Thursday, March 26, 2015

Three weeks before start - Itinerary (the plan)

Everyone wants to know "when and where"?

  • When do you start? And just WHERE is THAT?
  • When are you going to get to the Sierras?
  • When you going to make it to Oregon, or to Washington?
  • Where does the trail end?
  • When do you think you will finish the trail?

I have spent the last several weeks working on my itinerary.
I used an on-line tool, Craig's PCT Planner, to select my resupply points.
The cool feature of this program is that it takes into account your hiking speed, and factors in such things as elevation gain, extra mileage required (getting off and onto the trail), and can be customized for a slower pace due to altitude or trail conditions (snow).

Here is a sample of the detail it provides:

I chose Warner Springs as my first resupply point. It is almost 110 miles from the border.
Since I am starting on April 16, it uses my average estimated hiking speed of 2.5 mph and factors in an adjustment of 45 extra minutes for every 1000 feet of elevation gain. I plan on hiking (moving) for ten hours each day.

Given this, it shows that it will take me 5.1 days to get to my resupply point. That is how much food I need at the start to make it to Warner Springs. The program calculates that I will be averaging 21.6 miles per day for this segment, and has a cool little elevation chart showing the challenges of the trail.

I spent a lot of time adding notes to each entry, including whether I planned to MAIL or BUY food, how much food I needed for the next segment of the hike, and additional notes regarding how to get there, notes on where to buy food or places to stay (if I am going to stay overnight).

An INCREDIBLE resource that I used was Yogi's Pacific Crest Trail Handbook.

She has compiled an amazing summary of trail tips and a town guide.
It is updated yearly and has the most current information about the trail.
Many of my notes were added directly from her book.
Anyone thinking of hiking the trail or doing a section of the trail would benefit from this resource.

I saved my entire itinerary in PDF format, and will have ready access to it from my phone.

In addition, I decided to put together an OVERVIEW of my entire trip, based on the information from each resupply entry.

And now, to answer everyone's questions, (drum roll), here it is:

I have borrowed the overview map from Halfmile's PCT map set, and augmented it with the dates from my itinerary. The projected dates are listed on the right-hand side. It predicts that I will get to the Canadian border by September 30th.

Of course, this is just the PLAN. I might find that I can hike faster, or my be surprised that I am going more slowly. I may decide to take an extra day off, or skip a planned day off.

And, as past through-hikers have stated, your plan will likely go out the window within the first week of your hike!

Here is the summary of my hike generated from the tool:

So there it is.
I have finished my planning for the hike, and now am continuing to tie up a few loose ends.

Family and friends are planning a couple of  "Bon voyage" parties before I go!

I am SO excited!

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