I'm considering doing a section of the PCT next year :-) in celebration of my 50th birthday :-( I'm looking for a 50 or so mile stretch I could do sometime in the first 6 months of 2011.
So this question kinda hammock, kinda terrain related. I'm looking for lots of wide open sky and views AND the potential to use my HH but I'd probably settle for my Tarptent Rainbow if I had to.
Would any of you suggest specific sections that make sense for this undertaking? I was already thinking of Desolation Wilderness (Rt 50 to Rt 80) along west side of Lake Tahoe as a possibility, though from another thread it sounds like it's not hangable but would have the views and terrain I was looking for on this trip.
So, what do you think? Thanks in advance for all the collective knowledge on this!
You might want to see Uncle Tom's journal on Trailjournals.com. He is currently near Washington State on his thru. He writes very well and you could get an idea about most of the trail and its conditions. He is using a tent, since there are many zones where there are no trees for hanging as you already thought about. Most likely areas would be in northern CA, Oregon and Washington, based on his journal so far.
Also, he a did a thru on the AT in '07, so he has a lot of experience and his judgment is pretty good. You might shoot him an email thru the trailjournals site and see what he thinks for hanging areas and views. Hope this helps.
I may be partial as an oregon resident but there are some truly stunning section here in Oregon.
There are some considerations other than hammock or not in deciding where on the PCT you hike. How are you for high altitude hikes? Extreme cold? What about extended uphill climbs (gains of 2000-5000 feet in a day)?
People think you can't hammock in the high reaches of the mountains. I just spend four days above 10,000 feet. I anticipated not being able to hammock and took a tarp - I was upset that I didn't bring the hammock. I could have been hanging the whole time. Dumb assumption. We were on the section of PCT between Bullfrog Lake and Rock Creek (got off at Horseshoe/New Army Pass). Mt Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48, is just a short 10-12 miles off the PCT in that section. Plenty of foxtail pines around to hang from (provided you have long straps).
Last month, my girlfriend and I did Washington Section J (Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass), and it was not only breathtakingly stunning, but there were also thousands of options for hanging. In fact, observing how much easier a hammock would have made camping there was one of the things that led me to these forums.
Check out this guy's TR, complete with incredible photos:
Since most of the trail in that section is switchback, conventional tenting/tarping is a challenge. Appropriately flat sites are few and far between; on several days we had to push on 4-6 miles beyond our intended destination because there were virtually no level spots for my Tarptent Squall 2. With a hammock in my pack, however, I would have had countless options, what with the endless Ponderosa pines out there. One thing to consider, though, is that you would absolutely need a bug net. The skeeters out there are some of the most hellacious I've ever encountered, and they do not stop at nightfall.