I normally don’t write entries on zero days, but I decided to recap this last section and describe what the next section holds.
Most of Southern California was desert climate, 3-4’ scrub “trees”, different cacti, and dry grasses (whose seed get embedded in your socks) were the typical vegetation. The ground was a reddish coarse sand which coated everything. In normal years, hikers expect very high temperatures and very little water throughout the section. This year is as abnormal as they come. Southern California had more precipitation this winter than they had in over 100 years. In addition, record low temperatures have occurred throughout the area.
The PCT in Southern California follows several small mountain ranges. The highlights of the section are Mt. San Jacinto at 10,804’ and Baden – Powell at 9,400’. In this year, the trail was still snowbound around these peaks. Outside of these taller peaks, the trail stays in the 3000-6000’ range most of the time.
The central California section ahead is my most anticipated section. The High Sierras are known for their breathtaking beauty. All the precipitation that made the desert so nice may make this next section the most challenging of the five sections. Many areas have 200% of their normal snow pack. The trail will stay mostly between 8,000 – 12,000’, bringing cooler temperatures and less oxygen for my lungs. Due to this, most hikers are opting to skip around (called flip-flopping) and hike this section later. Never one to shy from a challenge, I’m excited to be one of the few who attempts to hike straight through. I’m expecting cold, wet feet pretty much constantly for the next 400 miles. But with the scenery, somehow I don’t think I’ll mind.