The hardest part about planning a hike like this is estimating when you will be at a particular location far in advance.
Setting s schedule for the PCT is a bit different from setting a schedule for the AT. On the AT, there are shelters and campsites spaced out 8-10 miles on average. This tends to congregate hikers to stopping at similar spots on most days. The PCT does have a few (five) shelters and designated campsites (20-ish?) but for the most part, on the PCT you are camping in unimproved areas. You pretty much just hike until you are tired and look for a place to pitch your tent. You might find a spot in a quarter of a mile, or might have to hike 4 miles farther to find flat ground without prickly things on it.
Also, predicting what towns you will need to take a rest day (a zero or nearo – “nearly zero”) is easy for some big towns (aka Portland) but not so easy for the small ones, so I have not really planned any zero days other than the excursion to come back for a wedding. But, I have no idea where I will be when that date hits, so I’m not sure where to pad the extra week or so. Therefore, I’ll just plan a 2650 mile hike and just say – I need another week somewhere.
Below is the tentative schedule of the major milestones and where I “think” I will be arriving there, but without any provision for zeros or the September wedding, so ignore everything after August.
|Date||Mile Marker||Section Start Point||DOW|
|6/11/2016||274||Big Bear City||Sat**|
|6/25/2016||567||Highway 58 (California)||Sat**|
|7/1/2016||703||Kennedy Meadows Store||Fri|
|7/11/2016||877||Vermillion Valley Resort||Mon|
|7/21/2016||1095||Echo Lake Resort||Thu|
|8/6/2016||1424||Burney Falls SP||Sat**|
|8/26/2016||1830||Crater Lake (Mazama Village)||Fri|
|8/29/2016||1912||Shelter Cove Resort||Mon|
Post Hike Update: I had to start 2 days earlier than the schedule because the 29th was Memorial Day and I would have had to start even later, so I actually flew out a day earlier and started two days earlier, on the 27th. And even with 9 days off trail for the wedding, I finished 3 days earlier than the October 6th estimate. I only took three zero days, which is low – I probably should have taken ten or so. In the end, its pretty amazing that I actually hiked California about a week faster and stayed on this schedule to within about a week the entire time.