An important part of any adventure is planning ahead, and today, February 1st, 2016, is a big step in the planning process for the Pacific Crest Trail. According to the issuing agency, the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA.org), long-distance permits will be available today for those hikers attempting over 500+ contiguous miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. While I constantly refresh the web browser to put my name into the hat, you can check out the newest addition to the homepage and catch up with all the inspiration you need to tackle another week of adventure:
Permits on the PCT
Long-distance permits are available for anyone hiking more than 500+ contiguous miles along the PCT corridor, and are issued by the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA). While there is no limit on how many long-distance permits are issued for hikers starting on the northern terminus of the trail (Manning Park), due to the popularity of northbound trekkers and the fragile ecosystem of southern California, the PCTA is only issuing 50 launch permits per day for those hikers starting at the southern terminus (Campo).
For more information on permits, including what permits you need to obtain for less than 500+ contiguous miles of the PCT (section and day-hiking), head on over to the Permit Page from the Pacific Crest Trail Association.
Avalanches on the PCT
A true worry and environmental hazard that comes with the Pacific Crest Trail is snow-travel and avalanche danger. California is getting more snow than it has in the last five years, and winter isn’t over yet, so avalanche danger could be very real by the time I’m out there. An informative and melancholic reminder of the hazards that could await can be found with the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning multi-media essay by John Branch, entitled “Snow Fall – The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek“.
The Tunnel Creek Avalanche occurred in February of 2012 at Steven’s Pass Ski Resort in the northern Cascades of Washington (of which the PCT passes through), and was triggered by a group of professional skiers, three of which perished in the natural disaster. John Branch’s multi-media article about the incident, which was published with the New York Times, is a visual journey into what happened that day from all angles of the story and is well worth checking out regardless of your future snow plans.
Cross Training Gets a Little Muddy Sometimes
A big part of getting ready for 2,650+ miles of the Pacific Crest Trail is physical training. While walking has now been my main form of exercise, including an average of 20,000 steps a day according to my Fitbit, I try and find the opportunity to throw in some cross-training to keep things fresh. Yesterday, in Iowa City, the I AM FAT fat tire bike race took place at the Terry Trueblood Recreational Center. While this 3-hour team endurance race provided the necessary cross-training to get my body ready for the PCT, it was also a lot of fun, and I’ll let the pictures give you a guess to how muddy things become in Iowa with a rainy winter: