I thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010. In contrast to my Appalachian Trail thru-hiking experiences, other than the first freakish two days near the Mexican border of rain and sleet, I did not see any significant rain on the PCT until northern Oregon.
True to expectations, I often went 20+ miles between water sources, and that was during a mild year when most water sources were flowing and weather was relatively cool. Leading up to Washington, it appeared that I was going to beat the crazy wet weather that seemed to follow me on long distance hikes. That’s when, so not to be outdone, the PCT delivered 19 days of rain out of the 20 that it took to walk from the Washington border to Canada.
Some Basic Facts
The route was first explored in the late 1930s by teams of young men from the YMCA. Once proven feasible, trail pioneers Clinton Clarke and Warren Rogers lobbied the federal government to secure a border-to-border trail corridor.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The trail begins near Campo, CA and ends within British Columbia’s Manning Park. In recent years out of 300 or so who start out to hike the entire trail, roughly 60 percent finish.
Compared to the AT, trail towns tend to be further apart and further from the trail requiring that a hiker either carry more food or hike more miles per day, and then hitchhike further to resupply.
I think I averaged 4-6 days between resupply and my longest stretch between resupplies was 8 days in the Sierra Nevada.
There are very few blazes and trail markers on the PCT, but the trail is well maintained and traveled. There are only a handful of shelters on the PCT. I did not stay in any during my trek.
Depending on timing and snow levels, an ice axe is recommended while in the Sierra. I carried one but never had to use it. As was the case for me in 2010, navigation can become an issue when the trail is snowbound. If there is no trail to follow, navigation skills are a must. Thanks to another hiker, Magellan; I was able to improve my own quite a bit and am now much more confident navigating by map and compass.
Forester pass at 13,135 ft is the highest point along the Pacific Crest Trail. However, the trail passes within 9 miles of Mt Whitney, which at 14,505 ft is the highest point in the lower 48 states, and most hikers, including myself, take the opportunity to summit.
Condensed from www.pcta.org, wikipedia, and once again, my memory. These are great resources for more information. Not my memory; that’s a scary place.