2024 PCT: Ramblings

It’s October 11th, 2023, just after 6 am. I just watched a video from a lady I’m following on YouTube who documented, or at least started to record, her journey on the PCT this past spring.

She left the trail after 1800 miles, primarily due to foot issues but also because she felt “done”. Reading her blog, I realized that her story was somewhat similar to mine, as far as saying, “I want to do that!”. 

I greatly value blogs and hope that mine brings encouragement to at least one reader. I am forever grateful for Wired, for her blog, and for allowing me to escape and live vicariously through her writings.

Now, let’s get on with today’s topic.

The day to register to get a permit is now less than two weeks away! The steps to getting a permit are:

  1. October 24th, 2023 – Register
  2. November 13th, 2023 – Receive an email indicating your reserved time slot 
  3. November 14th, 2023 – Apply!

You have another chance in January if you don’t get a spot on November 14th. The permits are released in two phases: 35 per day in November and 15 per day in January.

Last year was the first year of doing it this way. In previous years, you would wait on the landing page until a specific time arrived, allowing everyone to apply for their permit on the day they wanted or settled for. This worked well until it didn’t. People got wise and started using multiple devices, increasing their chance of obtaining a permit and drastically increasing wait times for people in the queue. At least perceived wait times.

There aren’t any changes this year, and I know exactly what to expect. 

My goals have changed after my section hike in August. My original idea was to do 30 miles daily and the entire trail in 100 days. Reality struck on my section hike, and I accepted that my feet likely wouldn’t allow me to do that much right from the start. However, my body seems strong and could probably keep up. I also learned that hiking cannot hurt with every step. It sucks all the fun out of it, and I hate it.

So, this is the new plan; I recalculated the entire trail at conservative numbers. 15-20 miles per day for the first 30 days. Then it bumps up for seven days, then I hit Kennedy Meadows South, and the mileage drastically lowers through the Sierra. Once out of the Sierra, the miles per day go up to 24, then 28 miles per day on Day 76 until the end.

Day 100 will be August 14th, 2024, between Timberline Lodge, Mt Hood, Oregon, and Cascade Locks, Oregon.

I expect to do more mileage than this, but I want to create a plan with conservative numbers that I know I could do so that it would be a bonus and not required if I did do more miles.

This was the outcome of my section hike. It wasn’t the hike I wanted, but it was what I needed. I will still train this Winter as if I were doing 30 miles daily and the entire trail. I would love nothing more than to do the whole thing. It’s a tremendous amount of self-accomplishment from putting a crazy goal together and completing it. I understand my journey may not be a continuous footpath, and I am OK with that.

I have a few rules.

  1. Skipping the Sierra is OK if there will be hundreds of miles of snow
    1. This is both a safety and comfort choice
    2. If missed, I probably won’t return this year
  2. If I need to take off several days of hiking due to injuries, I can skip to where I need to be.

The big goals are:

  1. Finish California
  2. Finish at Cascade Locks
  3. Finish at the Northern Terminus
    1. If I can get to the terminus but need to skip southern Washington, I can do that. I’ve already done that part of the trail and can start at Snoqualmie Pass, cutting out 240 miles.