Yes. That was nerve-racking. As expected, about a thousand thru-hiker wannabes rushed the PCTA website all at the same time. The mosh pit grounded the website to a near halt.
The way the process works, now that I have seen it, is that when you first select your date, they give you exactly thirteen minutes to complete all the pages of the application. I would fill out the form and click next and it would take nearly a minute before the next page would appear. I would frantically fill out the form and then sit there watching a flashing “Processing…” message.
The final page before hitting the submit button required me to enter my credit card if I wanted to make a donation and to purchase a permit to climb Mount Whitney. I had one minute to do it. I typed as fast as I could, but I wasn’t fast enough. When I hit the submit button, my application timed out and I had to start over. I did that right away only to find that 32 of 35 slots of April 6th were taken!
The second time I skipped making a donation. I have already done that before, so hopefully it will not make a difference in my application approval. I clicked the submit button. Processing…
My phone beeps. I received a new e-mail from the PCTA with a confirmation notice that my application has been successfully submitted. Now I wait for the formal approval which should be in about three weeks. As I gave myself a window of April 6th to September 15th, I do not expect for it to be declined. The first major step of this hike has been successfully completed. Now I pack for a three-day, two-night section hike of the Ice Age Trail to celebrate. It is supposed to be cold and rainy. It is ideal conditions for a shakedown of my gear.
My heart can now stop beating so fast.