My longest thru-hike (so far) is the 211-mile John Muir Trail, which I’ve hiked twice. The Pacific Crest Trail beckons me, but at 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, it would take a five-month commitment to thru-hike, and that’s if I were lucky enough to avoid calamity along the way. Fortunately for those of us who don’t have five months to go for a walk, there is another way–section hiking the PCT.
SoCal hiker Shawnté Salabert has authored Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California: Section Hiking From Campo to Tuolumne Meadows, one of a new four-title series from Mountaineers Books that focuses on section hiking the PCT.
Having read through the book over the past two days, I’m impressed. First off, the book itself is hefty–larger and heavier than most guidebooks. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is not designed to be carried on the trail (though there is a Kindle edition available); it’s designed to inspire, inform and equip you with the knowledge that you’ll need for a successful section hike.
The book begins with solid advice for successfully section hiking the trail, with tips for calculating how much water to carry, hazards to be aware of (and how to deal with them), information on permits and other red tape required.
Each section is clearly illustrated with full-color photos, maps and elevation profiles. Shawnté provides additional color in her description of the trail, so you get a great picture of each section. Campsites and water sources are clearly identified on the map, and each section includes a table with campsite-to-campsite mileage.
Areas where special attention to water sources are noted, as well as resupply spots, alternate routes and bail-out points. Best of all are several suggested itineraries for each section, depending on the daily mileage and time you have to cover it.
Some of these segments I’ve hiked portions of, but the part that I’m most familiar with is where the PCT joins the John Muir Trail near Crabtree Meadow. Having thru-hiked this section twice and hiked sections of it numerous times, I can tell you that she’s done a great job of describing the trail with enough detail to give you a really good sense of what to expect on each of the 70 legs of the trail described in the book.
If your adventure plans include backpacking in Southern California or up into the Sierra Nevada range on this magnificent trail, get a copy of this book.
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California: Section Hiking From Campo to Tuolumne Meadows is available from Mountaineers Books.
I also had a chance to chat with Shawnté about her experience researching and writing the book. Be sure to check out our interview. You can also learn more about Shawnté at her website: shawntesalabert.com
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