(Pacific Crest Trail Association) - A great place to start. We became members,
read the newsletters and got our thru-hike permit from them.
Craig's PCT planning program - We used it to get an idea
of how long it would take us to thru-hike and we used it again, later, to firm up our
itinerary. Great program.
"The Advanced Backpacker
- A Handbook for Year-Round, Long-Distance Hiking" by Chris Townsend - This is an excellent book and is not limited to
the Pacific Crest Trail, as Chris has done extended hiking in a number of countries.
This is a practical guide on all aspects of planning for a long-distance hike.
"The PCT Hiker's Handbook for the Long Distance Hiker"
by Ray Jardine - (This book gave us some food for thought regarding ultra-light
backpacking. We thought some of it was 'over the top' and, apparently, weren't alone
in that thinking (see review), but the book is packed with
great ideas and original thoughts.)
"Journey on the Crest" by Cindy Ross - (This was the one book we had that
chronicled a thru-hike ... there are others. This is the story about a woman who
hiked the PCT in two parts during the early 80's. It gave us lots of encouragement.
Gee, if she can do it ..."
MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) - Our Canadian candy store. Located near downtown Vancouver, it
became our 'place to go first' for our PCT gear - tent, clothing & misc items were
(Recreation Equipment Inc.) - The American equivalent of MEC, but with a larger
selection at slightly higher prices. The exchange rate kills us.
NESCO-American Harvest - This is where we purchased our
dehydrator after doing an extensive research. We selected the FD-50 - good wattage,
expandable to 12 trays (though we ended up using only 6), thermostat & patented
air-flow for even drying.
Southbounders: An independent film about one woman's journey on the Appalachian Trail. Follow along as "Olivia" and two other thru-hikers walk from Maine to Georgia. The film, a 2005 Whistler Film Festival selection, provides a cinematic look at the AT thru-hiking experience, exploring relationships, the rigors of hiking and the beauty of the trail, along the way. A must-see for anyone who's been on a long hike, thinking about doing a thru-hike or knows someone who's thru-hiked.
"Border-to-Border: Hiking 2,515 miles on the
PCT" by Purple Dragon Ventures
(90min). It chronicles a 1988 thru-hike by Joe & Carol McVeigh. Not a
necessary pre-planning tool, but it does provide a first-hand account of what PCT life is
"How to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail" by
Lynne Wheldon (4 hr 39min). Interviews with 22 PCT thru-hikers. Arranged by
topic. Nice section with interior footage of trail town resupply stores. Find
out from thru-hikers, while on the trail, about what they'd do different, what works.
We wanted to try dehydrated food and went to
the library and checked out lots of books on the subject. Over time, we developed a
method that was well adapted to our style of backpacking (see our dehydration planning
pages). We utilized many books for recipe ideas, but one book stood out:
"The Backcountry Kitchen" by Teresa
Marrone - Many books have complicated preparation or ingredients. Teresa's book is
nice because it focuses on easy to pack, easy to prepare lightweight food. It also
has symbols associated with each recipe. This allowed us to quickly determine if
the recipe would work for us or not.
Other books we browsed:
"Cooking the One-Burner Way" by Melissa Gray &
Buck Tilton. Owners and operators of the Wilderness Medicine Institute, this book
focuses on cooking 160 elaborate and simplistic meals on top of a compact, one-burner
"NOLS Cookery" edited by Claudia
Pearson. Lots of hints, ideas and recipes in this classic guide to backcountry
cooking. NOLS = "National Outdoor Leadership School".
"Lip Smackin' Backpackin': Lightweight,
Trail-tested Recipes" by Tim & Christine Connors. Book includes recipes
and trail tips from experienced long-distance hikers.
that tell you how much snow is along the trail. We got a bit excited because the
2001-2002 snow year started off with a bang. The data becomes more relevant the
closer it is to your start date. Useful for thinking about water availability and
"CA Dept of Water Resources - Snow Water
Content" - Updated daily, this plot shows the current and prior year's "snow
water content" as a percentage of the April 1st average. A WET-year and
DRY-year plot gives current data a frame of reference. Our #1 source.
Conservation Service - Snowpack Maps" - Updated monthly, these maps cover the
drainage basins of the western U.S. Cover the entire PCT, but the data is a bit
data. Also has historic data. Site has oodles of other snow information and is
linked to SNOTEL stations. Pretty overview of the trail. Pick the year and
month you'd like to view.
"USDA-Natural Resources Conservation
Service - SNOTEL Sites" - Nitty-gritty, by-station data. The (NRCS)
maintains an automated system to collect snowpack data in the Western U.S. called
SNOTEL (SNOwpack TELemetry). The system evolved from a Congressional mandate in the
mid-1930's "to measure snowpack in the mountains of the West and forecast water
supply." It program began with manual measurements, but since 1980, SNOTEL
sites have reliably and efficiently collected the data. Click on the above link and
paw around, but we found a non-NRCS-site to have the (Best SNOTEL graphs: Pick an area,
then a station, configure a graph & view the data from that SNOTEL station)