This morning's edition of the Centre Daily Times Newspaper here in State College ran an article about my hike. I will be the first to admit that vegetarian comment should read: "for over 1 year" not "for two years", but that's my fault for stating it wrong during the interview. Check it out: "PSU Student Hikes for the Heart"
The PCT is much different than the AT in this respect. Other than a couple of National Parks (Smokies and Shenandoah) and registering in Baxter St. Park, you really don't need any permits to hike the AT. The PCT is a different beast all together. Without going into crazy detail, there are four pieces of documentation that are important and "necessary", to properly thru-hike the PCT. Now, while I have no set intention on doing a thru, it took me no additional time to acquire the paperwork just in case. It's always easier to have it up front. The paperwork requirements can be read over at the PCT website: http://www.pcta.org//planning/before_trip/permits.asp , but to sum up, you need:
1. An official Thru-Permit. This permit covers you for all camping in National Parks along the hike AS WELL AS an official pass to climb Mt. Whitney. You are supposed to apply for this permit if you plan on hiking more than 500 miles on the PCT. You should apply for this permit at least two months prior to starting your hike. While the permit is free, the Mt. Whitney portion costs $15.00 (should you decide you want to hike Mt. Whitney, which you would be a fool not to).
My Update: Thru-Permit Received and Approved!
2. Canada Entry Permit. This permit is necessary to enter Canada at the Northern Terminus point. Since the trail does not end ON the border, hikers are required to hike about 8 miles up to Manning Park in British Columbia to finish. This means you need permission. Since there is no obvious border guard in the middle of the woods, you need to pre-apply for permission. This permit MUST be applied to at least 2 months prior to starting in California. It involves filling out paperwork, mailing it to Canadian borders services, and the having an approved portion mailed backed to you. Also, you must have this permit on your person, when entering Canada, and when re-entering the US in Seattle (or wherever you come back to the States).
My Update: Canada Permit Received and Approved!
3. California Fire Permit. While this is sort of a silly permit, technically, California does require it if you are using a stove or fires anywhere in the National Parks. To obtain, it just requires answering a few questions online, and printing out a certificate.
My Update: Fire Permit Printed and Signed!
4. Passport. That's right, going to and from Canada by car does now REQUIRE a passport. So, you must have it on you before crossing the border. The best bet is to mail it to you last PO drop (Usually Stehekin WA) along with the Canada Entry Permit.
My Update: Passport Up To Date!
For this hike, I've decided rather than eating bars for my breakfasts (like on my AT hike), that I will be making my own homemade Muesli. I've come up with a recipe that contains ingredients all with long shelf lives and will be vacuum sealing bags for my food drops. It tastes pretty darn good too. I did a bunch of research on the internet for different good recipes, but in the end, sort of came up with my own concoction. For those interested, here is my recipe
2 C Rolled Oats
1/2 C Rye Flakes
1/2 C Dried Coconut
1 Tbsp Flax Seeds
2 Tbsp Cornmeal
1/2 C Sliced Almonds
1/4 C Dried Dates
1/4 C Dried Cranberries
3/4 C Raisins (or more)
1/3 C Sunflower Seeds (dehulled)
1/4 tsp Cinammon
Dried Bananas (handful)
Dried Bananas (handful)
Some Potential Optional Ingredients:
1/4 C Toasted Wheat Germ (can spoil though)
Some Cereals (ie Corn Flakes or Grape Nuts)
Sugar (Either white or brown)
I will have a video up on youtube shortly about this.
I don't have much to say about gear right now, other than I have most of what I need. Unlike the AT where one "set" of gear got me by on the entire trail, the PCT is truly a sectional trail when it comes to gear. In Southern Cali, you can get by on a 40 degree bag, and a tarp. In the Sierras, you need much more warm gear, more clothing, and a bear cannister. Most people swap out gear at Kennedy Meadows. This will be my approach, provided I make it that far (700 miles).
My entire gear list, including all warm and cold weather gear, is now up on my trailjournals site:
My four main "to-dos" are:
1. Buying a few remaining odds and ends (ie foot lube, aquamira, etc)
2. Buying all of the food that I want to pre-buy. I don't plan on buying 2500 miles of food, but I will buy some. I will be resupplying a lot more from trail stores, rather than PO drops, but will still buy a significant amount of food up front.
3. Plan and pack mail drops.
4. Find a home for my cat.
That's it so far. In four weeks, I will hiking from Campo to Lake Morena and then enjoying the Kick-Off festivities.
That's it for now.