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[pct-l] North to South

This subject has been discussed many times in the past so check out the 
archives for other points of view.  

However, a summer or late spring start up north could subject you to 
lingering snow in the North Cascades and late spring storms.  You really want 
to see what the winter brings before you start and hope for a low snow North 
Cascades year.  A heavy snow year in the Sierras usually makes for a good N - 
S hike.  You can normally judge or make a pretty good guess at the overall 
snow conditions by the first of March each year.  

If you are a loner then North to South is better than vice versa.  You will 
be passing no one or few for months and then pass all of the south to 
northerners, over a month or so, for a quick chat with each and then they 
will be gone.  

You'll find yourself in the Sierra at arguably the best time of year as the 
bugs are long gone, the people are vacating, the stream crossings are low and 
snow non-existant. You'll have to carry a bear canister because the bears 
will still be active and getting ready for winter and more rangers are likely 
to be out than would be in the early Spring.  Fall storms can drop snow but 
usually temperatures are such that it rarely sticks around until late 
October.  There actually are trees that turn in the Fall in the Sierra and 
you will likely hit that also.

You wont find much trail angel - water stashing on the southern end desert 
sections unless you put out the call and pre-arrange.  You'll need the water 
stashes in several places as you will hit the desert before the wet season 
and after the driest time of the year.  You'll find next to no one on the 
trail in the coast ranges of California except on the weekends.

And you'll reach the Mexican border with no one around to celebrate with.  
The ADZPCTKO crowd will be getting ready to put on the next one and building 
up their fat for the winter.  The rain could be cold and icey by then and the 
hills will be their driest, brown and greyest. No flowers.  No running water. 

All in all, not my cup of tea, but, perhaps, it is yours.  

Hike your own hike (HYOH),

Greg "Strider" Hummel

"Salvitur Ambulando"
(walking solves all things)
            St. Augustine

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