Last night on the Facebook Section Hikers of the PCT page a gentleman posted pictures he had taken four days earlier of a chunk of trail just 30 miles from my starting point. Hot damn. I don’t have the image but he showed an expanse of north facing trail that was deep snow with a cornice over the trail and no footsteps across. This guy regularly hikes in this area and he said he wouldn’t want to cross that snow field.
I don’t mind telling you this sort of threw me into a panic. If I stuck to my plan I would been there a short two weeks after his photos were taken. Certainly not enough time for the snow to melt out in any appreciable way. Another member let me read a blog post she had written of encountering this same section in a past year. If I needed any more reason to change my plan, that was it.
But what to do? I had already purchased a train ticket from San Jose to Dunsmuir and had mailed my food resupply boxes a couple of days ago. If I changed my plan to hike from north to south, that train ticket would be worthless, being non refundable. $80 down the tube. Not only that, the maps I needed for the trail had been sent with my resupply boxes, in the exact opposite order than I would need them. What a curfuffle.
But there was nothing for it but for me to make the big switcheroo since there was no way in hell I was gonna cross that snowy expanse of icy snow. I know there are inherent risks in solo backpacking but deliberately walking into danger has never been my idea of a good time.
Having made the decision I am much relieved and amazingly, the plan is working out quite well. I will drive to Ashland on Monday, hopefully see my cousin who is visiting from her home in Belize (I would have missed her otherwise) and another dear friend will come visit me in Ashland. I will start hiking south on the PCT on 5/30 giving the snow a few more weeks to melt before I get there. I’ll have to send more food (and maps🤪) to my box in Etna and maps to my stop in Seiad Valley. But still, it could be worse. And I must say I am happy not to be taking the train. I hate train travel.