PCT resources on the Web
The Pacific Crest Trail
Association is the chief advocacy group for the trail,
working cooperatively with the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land
Management, national and state parks, lawmakers, other public entities and private landowners. The PCT Memorandum of Understanding is the policy glue that holds the fragile alliance together. The site contains trail governance news, membership information, basic advice
for planning a hike, trail condition and closure updates and a bookstore. The PCTA is also the NGO charged with issuing thru-hike permits for hikes of more than 500 miles. The organization's primary missions are fundraising for itself (85 percent of its mailings to members involve pleas to send more money), influencing land-use policy and promoting trail stewardship. The organization is dedicated to supporting the trail, not the people who use it. If you look at their graphic concept of the "PCTA community" it's 16 different constituencies. Hikers are just one of the 16 -- and thru-hikers are but a small fraction of that.
There was a time not all that long ago when several of us -- including myself -- posted PCT maps. Now, after thousands of hours of labor, Lon "Halfmile" Cooper has distinguished himself as the primary, authoritative source. There are still other map sets out there -- and there's always the allure of custom-brewing your own -- but this is the set you really need. In addition to maps, there are smartphone apps and GPS data sets, trail and resupply notes and a Google Earth .kmz file. Overall, an extraordinary gift to the community.
Jackie "Yogi" McDonnell has been hiking and writing about long distance trails for about two decades now. She has attained the distinction of a Double Triple Crown and is the author/self-publisher of guidebooks to the PCT, the CDT and the Colorado Trail. She's also now in the gear business with a venture called Triple Crown Outfitters in Kennedy Meadows.
PCT-l This mailing list is the granddaddy of all PCT forums. Sadly, what used to be the community's digital campfire chat seems to have fallen very quiet lately as the discussion shifts to other venues. There's still a lot to mine here, particularly if you skim multiple months of archives. It's not necessary to sign up for the mailing list in order to access the archives. There are some people regularly lurking on the edges of PCT-l who have very deep experience on the trail. It's really a pity what's happened to PCT-l in the past couple years. I'm convinced some software glitch somewhere along the line kept posts from reaching most of its thousands of members, myself included.
Trail Journals is a monster repository of hiker journals for every major trail -- a half-million journal entries and more than a million photographs. It's the main platform for PCT journals not residing on private Web sites. There's 20 years worth of trail history here. So deep you could lose yourself for days following other people's hikes.
Craig's PCT Planner This online calculator has been a resource for eyeballing
resupplies and other macro-level logistics for 20 years.
The Water Report is news you need from Campo to Cottonwood Pass. There's no way you're going to hike Southern California without it. A community of contributors keep this resource minty fresh. Being a contributor to the collective intelligence is one low-effort way to establish yourself as a member of the community. In addition to planning, you will be consulting it more than once during your hike. May the memory of the Water Report's founder, Bill "Asabat" Jeffrey, be a blessing for every hiker.
Classic PCT journals:
A little detour back to a time when the PCT was a much smaller community. (FYI, I began the PCT with JMT sections in 2000. I left Campo for the first time in April 2005. So I suppose that makes me old school. Or just plain old.) This is what it was like before the world rushed in.
Shires The man behind the near-ubiquitous TarpTent hiked
the trail in 1999.
Menacing Vegetables A merry team of three and sometimes
four people, hiked the trail in 2000. Particularly hilarious.
Coach Larry "Coach" Hoff
hiked the trail in 2002 and 2003. Inspirational and funny. Not your
typical thru-hiker in any way.
Brennan hiked the trail in 2002 and 2003. Much like his buddies Linda "Gottago" Jeffers and Yogi, Brennan's exploits and perspectives seem to have defined that slice in time.
Teatree Erin Brown hiked the trail in 2003 and 2007. A very
honest and wise account that will stand for the ages.
Ley His 1999 journal site also contains a wealth of extra
content on trip planning. Ley is better-known in the hiking community for his yeoman work on CDT issues, but his PCT writing should not be overlooked.
Ken and Marcia Powers
This Triple Crown couple has many thousands of long trail miles under
their collective belt, including two PCT treks and the American
Discovery Trail. The voice of true experience.
Scout and Frodo
Another great couple. Barney and Sandy Mann's 30th anniversary trek on
the PCT turned out to be one of the most entertaining journals of the
2007 season. The Manns went on to become major contributors to the PCTA, as writers, board members and ambassadors. They are also a critical piece of the hiker support system at the southern terminus.
Chuckie's 2006 journal is probably one of the most-read accounts on
Trailjournals.com. Chuck Velupek crafted a serial comedy riff masquerading as a trail journal and it's become a minor classic in the genre.
Freebird thru-hiked the PCT in 1997, 2005 and 2009. That kind of deep perspective is priceless. He understands the craft of storytelling.