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  1. #1
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    First US trip. Kayaking or PCT?

    Hello

    This fall (sometime between the start of October and the end of December) my little brother will be attending a semester at Berkeley University of California and I'm planning to cross the pond (from Norway) to visit him for a week or two. After quickly outstaying my welcome in whatever tiny student domicile he'll have I would like to hang for up to a weeks time and take in some nature.

    All plans are still up in the clouds and I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have. I will constrain myself to a general area that require less than a days travel by car or public transport, no flying. I recently took up sea kayaking, so renting a kayak and traveling by paddle is one option. Another option could be to do a section or more of the Pacific Crest Trail. I'm sure there's a million other possibilities. So, what are my (best) options?

    I have no idea yet about what laws I will need to adhere to when hanging/walking/paddling so I'll need to start reading soon. Any preferred sources for information other than keep searching these forums? I'll start by reading general travel stuff from the embassy.

    Let the planning begin
    -Frikk

  2. #2
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    An ulterior motive for taking this trip will be to acquire some cheap (by comparison to here in Norway where everything is insanely expensive) new gear. I'm extremely happy with what I have now, but trying new gear is always fun and I could use a lighter tarp. The only thing I have my eyes on so far is a Kokatat dry suit and some other kayak stuff. Maybe some summer version quilts would be in order too. Anything hammock related that can fit in my suitcase on the way home is interesting really , so I'm open for non-obvious suggestions here as well.

    -Frikk

  3. #3
    Senior Member lazy river road's Avatar
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    The PCT is certainly a great place to hike. Although I have never hiked on the PCT it is a dream of my so I live vicariously through any one who has is or going to have the opportunity to do so until I am amble to fulfill this dream of mine.

    As for gear to buy and bring back home. I'd just bring an empty suitcase and fill it with gear. Any thing and everything hammock related. If you looking for a good light weight tarp I'd look into Joe's tarps over at Z-Packs. The summer incubator/phoenix and burrow are some great summer weight quilts. And any thing else cottage industry that would cost you a lot of money over in Norway especially in shipping.
    Sometimes I like to hike and think, And sometimes I just like to hike.

    Hiking is'ent about waiting for the storm to pass its about learning to hike in the rain.

  4. #4
    Kallorne's Avatar
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    If I had only a week in late fall I would head north up the coast into redwood country. I've made the drive up and down highway 101 many times and it's always an eye opener. It's about a days drive taking it easy from the bay area. Lots to see and do on the way up too. I would stay out of the sierras that late in the year, it can be quite unpredictable up there.
    "don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go and do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

  5. #5
    Senior Member MuseJr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kallorne View Post
    If I had only a week in late fall I would head north up the coast into redwood country...
    I am going to have to agree with the above statement. The coastal mountains are nice but the Redwoods are absolutely amazing. I would spend a week hiking the northern CA coast for sure.
    "I'm a connoisseur of BACON." - Anyways - 6/9/13

  6. #6
    Senior Member guySmiley's Avatar
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    I'd say your answer will greatly depend on the time of year you're in CA.

    The fastest way to the PCT from Berkeley is to take the I-80 to Donner Pass. Interstate highways like that are open but pretty much all the other roads are still under a lot of snow, as is the PCT. That will probably be the case for a few weeks yet.

    I don't know much about kayaking in that area, but I do know that I don't think I'd enjoy it on the SF bay much, especially around the East Bay (where Berkeley is). It's far too industrial and commercial shipping would worry me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kallorne View Post
    If I had only a week in late fall I would head north up the coast into redwood country. I've made the drive up and down highway 101 many times and it's always an eye opener. It's about a days drive taking it easy from the bay area. Lots to see and do on the way up too. I would stay out of the sierras that late in the year, it can be quite unpredictable up there.
    Unpredictable can be fun, but it's probably not a good idea when trying to plan from half a globe away.

    How far north along the 101 should I aim for? Some town names or pins in google maps would be appreciated as my sense of distances on the map is a bit off. I have no idea about speed limits and general traffic flow for example, or if public transport is an option or will I absolutely need a car so it's hard for me to judge how far "one day of driving" will get me, hehe. From what I gather I will need permits for just about everything or everywhere I want to go too. Is that generally something I can arrange when I get there or do I need to send applications well in advance?

    -Frikk

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kallorne View Post
    I would stay out of the sierras that late in the year, it can be quite unpredictable up there.
    While I would not stay away from the Sierras, I would not put all my marbles in that one bag. If you have several other options the weather can be adjusted for (that's how us motorcycle campers work it). The Redwoods are amazing! There is Sequoia Kings Canyon HERE for hiking and Redwoods too. I'd also consider some coastal planning to allow for milder weather (depending on rain).

    Bring a good camera (California has some spectacular scenery)..oh and BTW I'd also consider mailing back your clothing after you are done and using the suitcase to its full potential. Bring LOOOOONG tree straps because the Redwood are not the only huge trees we have.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by guySmiley View Post
    I'd say your answer will greatly depend on the time of year you're in CA.
    Some time around October/November/December.

    Quote Originally Posted by guySmiley View Post
    The fastest way to the PCT from Berkeley is to take the I-80 to Donner Pass. Interstate highways like that are open but pretty much all the other roads are still under a lot of snow, as is the PCT. That will probably be the case for a few weeks yet.
    If I hit snow-season I could ski. Probably not too many people do that over there I guess, so no prepared tracks? When does snow-season generally start in that area?

    Quote Originally Posted by guySmiley View Post
    I don't know much about kayaking in that area, but I do know that I don't think I'd enjoy it on the SF bay much, especially around the East Bay (where Berkeley is). It's far too industrial and commercial shipping would worry me.
    That's what I thought. I'm going to ask Citykayak if I decide on that option.

    -Frikk

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Law Dawg (ret) View Post
    While I would not stay away from the Sierras, I would not put all my marbles in that one bag. If you have several other options the weather can be adjusted for (that's how us motorcycle campers work it). The Redwoods are amazing! There is Sequoia Kings Canyon HERE for hiking and Redwoods too. I'd also consider some coastal planning to allow for milder weather (depending on rain).
    Great link. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Law Dawg (ret) View Post
    Bring a good camera (California has some spectacular scenery)..oh and BTW I'd also consider mailing back your clothing after you are done and using the suitcase to its full potential. Bring LOOOOONG tree straps because the Redwood are not the only huge trees we have.
    I'm not much of a photographer, hehe. My 10y.o. Canon Ixus will not be replaced until it breaks Regular postage fees are quite steep unfortunately. If I'm real lucky my brother and others on the same exchange program will need/want a shipping container when they move back home and I can help them fill it

    -Frikk

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