Leave No Trace – Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups when possible.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

As I have said before, one does not plan to hike the PCT.  One can only prepare.  I have spent the past three years researching, studying and reading about this trail.  I believe I have the correct tools for the hike.

The first and immediate concern is staying up-to-date with the latest regulations.  I am not a big fan of going stove-less.  I nice hot cup of coffee in the morning is a luxury I’m willing to carry.  However, if a section is closed from any fire source, including my tiny three-ounce stove, I will follow those regulations.  I am depending upon the PCTA to keep me informed.

My Guthooks app is great.  It provides important information like where I can find a privy instead of digging a cat hole.  It provides more possible camping locations than the paper maps I am also taking.  I will, to the best of my ability, stick to places where people have already camped to reduce any damage I do to the environment.

I do have a bit of concern when it comes to the principle that I should repackage food to minimize waste.  I recognize that by removing the wrappers from all my Clif Bars I will significantly reduce the chance that part of the wrapper will go flying in the wind, I’m still increasing the amount of waste by using zip lock bags instead of keeping the bar in its original wrapper.

I know that I don’t know everything, but I know where to look.

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