Mile 384 to 407 (plus reroute)
Many AT hikers claim the PCT is easy because it is graded for horses, and therefore not as steep. Today I am hiking a portion of the trail that would piss off any horse. The grade has to be 30%, and I am pretty sure that is not a passing grade.
Most of us have experienced a reroute. We are driving along following our GPS when the road is blocked and we have to find another way. The GPS, clearly miffed at our insubordination, says “recalculating” and suggests another route.
The same thing happens on trails. The most common closure is caused by a fire, either one actually burning (reasonable) or a previous one that so damaged trail it is no longer passable (this really should have been fixed by now).
Today’s trail closure, however, is caused by endangered frogs. Now before you say anything, I know what you are thinking. If enough endangered frogs can actually blockade the trail, then perhaps they are not as endangered as we think. Further, if a lack of frogs in this area is the problem then why can’t thru-hikers be part of the solution? Give us handfuls of endangered pollywogs to plant like Johnny Appleseed. Like most of my ideas, this one goes no where, and we have to deal with a reroute.
Last year’s official reroute was a 2.5 mile road walk, then about another 3 mile hike down the Burkhart Trail to the PCT. Because of the book and movie Wild, this year’s number of thru-hikers could approach 2,000. A road walk of even a couple miles would look like a million homeless man march. Jessie Jackson would show up, stand in the front and protest the underrepresentation of people of color.
To avoid a road walk, this year’s official reroute is over 20 miles long, on multiple not well maintained trails, to get around a tiny three mile section of PCT trail closure. Suffice it to say I have not met a thru-hiker yet opting for the extra 20 miles. We walk the 2014 official route.
By the time I make it to Sulfur Springs camp I have walked over 24 miles. My feet feel and look like ground hamburger meat.