Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
daffodil10
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Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Post by daffodil10 » May 15th, 2019, 12:20 pm

Hello,

I just found out I have some time off in late July and I pulled this book at the library: Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon: Section Hiking from Donomore Pass to Bridge of the Gods by Eli Boschetto. I am a very inexperienced overnight camper (I've only been on two single-night overnight camping trips and the hikes there and back were about 5 miles). I have a sleeping bag and that's about it (but I'd buy the minimum gear I'd need). So here's what I'm thinking. I'd appreciate your feedback:


Fly to Eugene, OR, spend one night

Take a taxi or ride-share to Willamette Pass

Hike day 1: 17.1 mi

Hike day 2: 10.1 mi

Hike day 3: 17.3 mi

Arrive Elk Lake Resort and sleep in a cabin

Take taxi, ride-share, shuttle to Bend

Fly out of Bend back home


As you can see it's three days and two nights, I have yet to look closely at the places where I'd set up a tent on night one and night two (shall refer to my book).

My biggest concerns are:

-water sources and how to find and treat water out on the trail

-transport to and from Willamette Pass and Elk Lake

-my ability to hike the distances with the weight of a pack (I plan to practice beforehand)

-essential equipment I'd need for this trip (I'd like to buy only the essentials)



Thank you

Aimless
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Re: Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Post by Aimless » May 15th, 2019, 12:32 pm

Have you ever spent time on trails in Oregon or anywhere that resembles the high Cascades before? Do you have big mountains and wilderness spaces where you live?

I am reluctant to encourage you in this plan, in that you seem too inexperienced to jump in quite this deep, this fast, and the many sorts of advice you are seeking is asking lot for others to try to teach you over the internet. You would probably survive the experience, but there's a lot that can go wrong for a person trying to juggle as many new, unknown, untested experiences as you seem to be cramming into this trip. I'd advise you to try something less risky to begin with.

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adamschneider
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Re: Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Post by adamschneider » May 15th, 2019, 12:37 pm

Are you hell-bent on hiking part of the Pacifc Crest Trail? Because honestly, the section of the PCT north of Williamette Pass isn't all that spectacular. In that part of Oregon, you might find circumnavigating the Three Sisters to be more fulfilling, and the mileage would be similar, especially if you did a few detours (e.g., climbing South Sister).

daffodil10
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Re: Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Post by daffodil10 » May 15th, 2019, 12:48 pm

Thank you @adamschneider, that is very helpful. I'm not married to the PCT, the Three Sisters hike sounds intriguing.
@Aimless, thanks for the feedback. I live in the PNW, but I've done only day hikes here. Your advice is very sensible. I'd like to be challenged but also enjoy the experience.

keithcomess
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Re: Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Post by keithcomess » May 16th, 2019, 6:20 am

Some extensive areas of Three Sisters were burned a couple of years ago and some sections of the PCT were in that area. There are older large burn zones. Personally, I found the swathes of dead vegetation depressing, but it's now almost an integral component of Pacific Northwest backcountry.

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teachpdx
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Re: Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Post by teachpdx » May 16th, 2019, 2:02 pm

You're much better off flying in and out of PDX (cheaper), taking public transit to Timberline Lodge (much cheaper, only $5 each way) and doing a 3-3.5 day loop of the Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood.

It's described extensively in the field guide, it's much more accessible, and you'll get some solid mileage on the PCT as well.

Frequent access to water, more people around if something goes wrong, etc. And prettier, in my opinion.

I, too, share some of Aimless' concerns about your level of experience. If this is all pretty new to you, spend every weekend between now and the end of July hiking in progressively challenging terrain. "Practice" more than you think you need to. Take your kit out in early June and spend at least two nights with it, preferably in the rain. Do a 20 mile day with a full pack beforehand. Have 100 miles on your boots before setting off on an excursion like this. Don't just think that Amazon can deliver all your new gear a couple days beforehand and you'll be able to conquer the wilderness.

And see if you can find somebody to go with you. If something goes sideways, it's much more manageable with a buddy.

keithcomess
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Re: Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Post by keithcomess » May 16th, 2019, 6:03 pm

Another vote for Timberline as a debut long-distance hike. Round trip is ~40 miles and the only treacherous crossing (Elliott Creek) has reportedly been bridged since I did the trip a couple of years ago. Trail access is possible from multiple points on the route: that's both bad (lots of day hikers) and good (help available and an exit point if needed). Plus, water is plentiful on most sections of the route.

If you're really coughing up the cash for a full outfitting, consider the "ultra-light" approach. Consider looking at Dave Collins' "cleverhiker.com". He has all sorts of recommendations and he also describes the Timberline Loop (amongst other options). I've found his selections good choices out of a very wide range of options. (By the way, I don't know him nor do I have any affiliation with him or the companies he's selected).

Keith

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adamschneider
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Re: Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Post by adamschneider » May 16th, 2019, 10:16 pm

keithcomess wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 6:03 pm
the only treacherous crossing (Elliott Creek) has reportedly been bridged since I did the trip a couple of years ago.
Not bridged, but they did build a new trail to a new crossing point. (Whether it's any easier than the old one is up for debate.)

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kepPNW
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Re: Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Post by kepPNW » May 17th, 2019, 4:55 am

adamschneider wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 10:16 pm
keithcomess wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 6:03 pm
the only treacherous crossing (Elliott Creek) has reportedly been bridged since I did the trip a couple of years ago.
Not bridged, but they did build a new trail to a new crossing point. (Whether it's any easier than the old one is up for debate.)
The new "bridge" over the Eliot, late last summer.

Image
Relatively low water, September 2018.
Karl
Back on the trail, again...

(Photos · PortlandHikers)

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retired jerry
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Re: Rough PCT Itinerary, Seeking Input

Post by retired jerry » May 17th, 2019, 5:13 am

and up for debate whether that's the most difficult crossing :)

Newton Creek, White River, Sandy River,...

The new approach to the Eliot crossing is much better. In my opinion

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