I have noticed that I have a fair number of followers signed up for my blog. This post is for those who might be worried about this year’s record snow pack. For the past 2 months I have fretted over arriving at the high sierras too early. Heck, they are skiing at Mammoth and Squaw until July 4th! If everything goes according to plan, I will arrive at the Kennedy Meadows general store in early June. From there, it’s a go/no-go decision into the sierras. If I keep going north, 70+ miles puts me at the Whitney portal and the start of what could be a very treacherous endeavor. I kept telling myself that this is a journey and an adventure, but not a friggin death march! Safety has been a big concern especially when crossing swollen rivers from an epic year of heavy snow. Postholing for hours and hours, day after day, can really shave the miles off the momentum. Completing the PCT in one shot, is a huge commitment. Taking what nature throws my way is all part of the journey, but not at the risk of injuring myself or losing my life.
So I have made a decision that allows me to sleep at night. Hike northbound from Campo, CA to Kennedy Meadows general store (Inyokern, CA): 702 miles. From here, I will head to Bakersfield and fly up to Medford. Hitch or taxi to Ashland (Callahan’s). Hike southbound from Ashland to Kennedy Meadows general store: 1,000 miles. I figure that hiking between 6,000 and 8,000 elevation in northern California will be safer in early June. (BTW, bring your bear canister. They are now required in Lassen and I have heard stories of bears at Burney Falls. Even though they are heavier, they are safer and easy to use!!!) I will arrive at the higher elevations at least 5-6 weeks later thus allowing more melt to occur. Once I have reached Kennedy Meadows GS, I will fly back up to Ashland and continue northbound for the remaining 1,000 miles.
Hope this was helpful. 2 weeks until departure. I can’t wait!