Reviewed and Approved

Back on November 1st the Pacific Crest Trail Association began accepting applications for 2018 Pacific Crest Tail permits. I was anxiously sat in front of my computer with multiple browsers open along with one on my phone.  I watch the timer tick down towards 10AM when the permits would go live. I read comments on Facebook where others talked of server crashes as everyone floods the site, which apparently happened last year. I began to have flashbacks to trying to snag concert tickets as soon as they went on sale knowing they would sell out  almost immediately.

When the timer hit 0 I refreshed everything and began filling out the same information in multiple windows as quickly as possible.  Even though I was just attempting to submit an application it was first come first serve and they only accepted  35 applications per day, matching the number of permits made available. However, it wasn’t a complete dash for the finish line as once you selected your start date you had 13 minutes to complete your application.  This seemed like plenty of time to fill things out, until I hit “Next” to move to the next page and  nothing happened.  After 2 minutes of waiting I got to the next screen and once again quickly filled out the required information in each browser before clicking “Next”… and waited. This happened on each page, with the little clock ticking down before my selected date would be released and I would have to start all over again.  “Are you Traveling by foot or by Horse, mule or other equine animal?” Foot but a mule might come in handy. Next. “Do you have a child under the age of 18 joining you?” no.. no man. Next.”Do you want to purchase the extra permit to camp on Mt. Whitney?” Yes, but ain’t nobody got time for that, I guess I’m day hiking it. Next.  This continued until I made my way to the final screen with 2 minutes left, the same amount time it had been taking to move from one page to the next.  I clicked submit and anxiously waited to see if I made it through in time. After what seemed like an eternity the confirmation page loaded, I made it.  I took a deep breath and thought “If just applying for a permit is this nerve wracking I’m going to be a mess when I’m about to start”

After a few weeks of obsessively checking the status of my permit application I received an email stating that my application had been reviewed and approved. I will be starting my journey on April 3rd 2018. With my start date finalized I submitted for my sabbatical from work, finalized my travel plans and began to second guess my start date.  I wanted to start a bit earlier than the ideal mid to late April start date to avoid a large rush of hikers but after seeing how quickly permits were taken realized that with as popular as the trail is, and a limited number of permits, it’s going to be the same amount of people regardless of when I start.  With starting early I run the risk of facing less than ideal snow conditions in the mountains, mainly the Sierra and the San Jacinto, here’s hoping it’s a mild winter in southern California.

PCT Resources

I am finally moving past drooling over new backpacking gear and starting to dig into the actual planning of my trip on the Pacific Crest Trail.  There are a lot of things to take into account such has how much you can hike in the day, resupplying, rest days  and making sure you know where you’re going.  Luckily there are a lot of resources out there to help you plan your trip and help you while you’re out on the trail.  While I still haven’t read that book I mentioned in my first post I have found a lot useful sites online, here are a few of my favorites:

Pacific Crest Trail Association – The obvious place to start, the groups that preserves and promotes the PCT,.. and issues your permit. Tons of information about the trail, it’s history an the volunteers that support it.  Throw a few bucks their way if you can.

Halfmile’s PCT Maps – The name says it all, maps. Not just any maps but  the most current and accurate PCT maps available. They have maps that you can print (which would take a ton of  paper), GPS downloads, apps for Android and iOS, and  my favorite, a Google Earth map (really, take the time to load it up and check it out, it’s pretty awesome).

Craig’s PCT Planner – A really cool tool that lets you plan out your hike section by section. By just picking your start date, entering your pace and set the hours you want to hike in a day it will generate an itinerary for your journey. It accounts for increased travel time due to elevation gain and allows you to insert rest days into your schedule.

LighterPack –  A nice little tool that lets you track what you will carry with you and manage weight.  It also allows to share your list with others, once I get my list a little more flushed out I’ll be sure to post it here.

Yogi’s PCT Handbook – Not exactly an online resource but still very important. Yogi’s handbook is probably the only PCT planning book you’ll need. It includes tons of tips and advice from people that have hiked the PCT as was  information about the trail itself and the towns it passes through.

PCT Class of 2018 Facebook Group – A great way to connect with others planning on hiking the PCT in 2018, ask questions and help others.

I’m sure there are many more great resources out there that I’ve yet to come across, I’ll be sure to update this post when I find them. I’ll also be adding a dedicated list of resources to the sidebar in the near future.