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2013 Journal
Welcome to Craig's PCT Planner
9/22/2020

This website will be back online by November 2020. Right now I'm trying to get a few updates done that are easier to do if nobody is using the website. Things have changed significantly since March 2020:

  • We know more about COVID-19 and how it spreads. Props to the hikers who did actually do the right thing back in the spring though.
  • The USA lacks any kind of leadership at the national level, enough has already been written about this. Many people, urban and rural alike, do not take the virus seriously and still support our President who could care less if they die or not. The people who sent me hate mail saying the virus would be gone by this summer, had we had proper leadership you might have been right. Instead, more than 200,000 Americans have died since the Spring.

    I've basically given up, which there ain't no shame in as the song goes.

    If hikers are wearing masks in town (over your nose you fool!) and not partying inside crowded bars/restaurants, I don't see a problem.
In the meantime, I did finally bring my 2013 PCT Hike and my 2003-03 Bicycling around Australia websites up to date which you can look at. Remember, everything is problematic:

3/23/2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things have rapidly changed over the last couple of weeks to the point that it's no longer wise nor feasible to have a safe PCT hiking experience in the coming months, for both the hiker and the communities near the Pacific Crest Trail.

When the PCTA asked hikers to please postpone or cancel their PCT hike, I naively thought nearly all PCT hikers would follow this request.

Sadly this was not the case, as I have seen in Reddit comments, daily Instagram posts, and the mere existence of a Facebook group dedicated to hiking the trail in 2020 regardless of the pandemic.

Yesterday I looked in the PCT Planner database and was shocked with how many PCT hiking plans are departing in the next six weeks that are still actively being created and/or edited on a daily basis.

I cannot be a part of this...therefore beginning immediately, I am shutting the planner down until the PCTA, the US Forest Service, INYO SAR, and the nearby PCT trail towns indicate it is reasonable for people to begin hiking again on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Nothing is being deleted, I’m just taking it offline. I realize many of you are possibly making southbound attempts in June or July, section hike plans for later this year, or a future PCT hike in the coming years, to you I am sorry. The selfishness of the current hikers on the trail right now are the ones ruining it for you.

- Craig
Portland, Oregon
The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2,665 mile (or so) long hiking trail from Mexico to Canada, located in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. If you would like more information on the PCT itself, check out the Pacific Crest Trail Association's homepage.

Planning for a PCT hike is a lot of work and the actual planning of a PCT hiking schedule can be time consuming. The goal of this program is to simplify the planning process by:
  • Choosing resupply locations
  • Determining how many days of food are needed between resupply points
  • Projecting arrival dates at each resupply location
  • Adjusting your hiking time based on terrain
  • Bring out the middle-manager in all of us with detailed hiking statistics!

This program bases its calculations from trail data derived from the 2005 PCT Data book and Halfmile's PCT Trail Notes (for the resupply locations).

Please note: I have done my best to fix all bugs and known errors with this program. The intent of this program is to provide a tool for estimating your hiking time and not a substitute for careful planning of a PCT hike. Although I've done my best to ensure that this program works correctly, I cannot guarantee that the distances/times this program gives you will be 100% accurate.

If you have any questions or comments please drop me a message.

News & Release History:
3/18/2020

I never thought I’d have to write something like this, but you all should probably start making alternative plans instead of thru-hiking the PCT this year due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

There are a lot of opinions back and forth over whether or not it is selfish to hike this year, but I’m not going to go down that road here. However, the undeniable fact is that if you hike this year with the way things are now, you are really cheating yourself out of a Pacific Crest Trail hike.

A PCT hike is a lot more than just walking a beautiful trail from Mexico to Canada: it’s the people you meet and interact with. I’ve hiked the PCT twice (94/96 and 2013) and the things I remember most are all the times spent with the people I met along the journey. Sure I loved the scenery, but looking back that is all kind of a pleasant blur.

"Pulling into port" as my hiking friend Curtiss would say, was one of the great joys of the PCT. The things that are forever burned into my head are the times eating absurd amounts of food at restaurants, drinking more absurd amounts of beer at 11am in front of a McDonalds, and having the locals invite me to their backyard party. I loved being filthy coming into town, having a drink, taking that first shower knowing I’d get to spend all of the next day doing nothing but eating and having a good time.

If you hike this year, you are going to experience none of that. Many bars and restaurants are closed (on their own accord or by order) in all three states the PCT passes through. People living in the smaller towns with little to no nearby medical facilities are understandably worried about the influx of outsiders, such as in the trail towns of Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, California. Although you can do the PCT without ever getting in a vehicle (something I want to do myself someday), most hikers don’t due to the logistics. Drivers aren’t going to be picking you up when you try and hitch to town, especially as their loved ones start getting sick and things become more "real" as they have in other countries a couple weeks ahead of us in the onslaught of the pandemic.

From the comforts of home, it’s very easy to say you will just quickly pop into town, limit your interactions at the store/post office, and then head back out. This is not practical at all. Do you think you are really going to want to come in soaking wet to a town, get what you need, then go back out into the rain for two more days and sleep in your wet tent and sleeping bag? Most hikers, even the ones doing the entire trail in under four months, spend at least a few hours in every trail town in order to recuperate.

Another reason is that if you get injured or actually get sick on the trail, your chances of being rescued are going to be much smaller. Some places in the Sierra are a three day walk to get out of, and that is if you are healthy. The National Parks have begun to close their facilities and I could see California severely limiting backcountry access due to prevent potential wildfire danger they can’t deal with due to the COVID-19 virus.

Lastly, if you are annoyed with having to defend why you are going hiking now, do you really want to have to defend yourself on the trail, let alone when you get home and in the years that follow? It’s just not worth it. Maybe by July or August a section hike will be possible, maybe not.

This whole situation just sucks,
- Craig
PCT Map
Graph: Mexico to Canada
Near Campo, CA

Pacific Crest Trail
* The idea here was that one day I'd get all my PCT photos of the trail scanned and they would show here. This was in 1999. Since then I biked around Australia, started humanclock.com and humancalendar.com, bought a house, and got married. Hence, other things have "gotten in the way."

Rather than come up with a photostream from flickr or something, I've chosen to just leave the photo here since it has been here for 10+ years already and notions of history are now coming into play.



humancalendar.com
12/28/2019
I have added O'Shun's Orchard and Bishop, CA as resupply options.

Also, I have finished moving the PCT Planner over to a new server. PLEASE let me know if you have any problems.

Happy almost new year! I have been busy working on other projects like this problematic one lately, so I haven't had a chance to make the PCT Planner more mobile-friendly. I do have one project (it is PCT related though!) ahead of it..so hopefully in 2020 a mobile friendly version of the planner can happen.

3/13/2019
I got pct.tv online awhile back. It is a photo of most every sign on the PCT. There is a more reasonable four minute video and an oppressive three hour version for your enjoyment:


12/17/2017
The PCT Planner turns 20 years old today! Next year it can go drinking, which if you were to look at the Perl code that I wrote back in 1997, you'd swear I was the one doing the drinking. Anyway, I have updates to make to it but have a different PCT project to finish up first over the next few months, so they are going to have to wait a bit longer.

PCT 20

The above is a post I made to the PCT-L email list on December 17th, 1997. In the list archives, the URL isn't in the original post. So either it go cut off, or more likely, I made a big announcement about this great new thing and forgot to tell people were to find it. I added in the url from a post I made a few days later.

The backstory about how this whole thing came to be is on the about page. Going forward, I'm working on a new version of the planner with some much needed features (put the addresses back in, work on mobile phones). I have another PCT project in the works though ahead of it that I'm trying to get done in the next few months, so the planner update will have to wait a bit longer. (Well, and I had issues with our kitchen, so I tore it down to the studs and have been rebuiliding it over the last few months).

Anyway, thanks for all the feedback and you can contact me at humanclock@gmail.com if you have any questions or there are features you want the program to have.


1/2/2017
Happy New Year! I basically took last year off from programming projects and worked on my house, a lot. Getting caught up now. I've added The Burney Mountain Guest Ranch as a resupply option so you don't have to put in a separate adjustment for it at the Highway 299 crossing. I have another PCT project in the works, plus I still have 46 hours of video to go through from my 2013 thru hike. Hence, I don't know if I'll get a new version of this site done this year or not...time will tell. Happy hiking! -Craig

12/28/2015
The Saufley's Hiker Heaven will be open again in 2016! Please see hikerheaven.com for more information. (thanks Petra/Jason!)

8/29/2015
After October 1st, 2015, Echo Lake will no longer have a post office.

"If addressed to us the package will be held at Twin Bridges P.O. (9 miles west on Highway 50). Alternatively, hikers can mail to the SLT main P.O: 1046 Al Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 (about 10 miles from Echo Lake)."

Although the town of Acton was already on the PCT Planner and at the same exit point, I added the Acton KOA as a resupply option. There is also another resupply option availble at Sonora Pass that is working under a special use permit with the Forest Service, Sonora Pass Resupply.

3/17/2015
Although the town of Acton was already on the PCT Planner and at the same exit point, I added the Acton KOA as a resupply option. There is also another resupply option availble at Sonora Pass that is working under a special use permit with the Forest Service, Sonora Pass Resupply.

2/18/2015
Just a heads up, Hiker Heaven in Agua Dulce is now closed. I have changed the planner to reflect this but didn't remove the option as to not break existing hiking plans.

3/8/2014
I spent short of a long while writing up a bunch of advice and tips for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

5/7/2013
I am on the PCT this year, you can follow my travels on lunky.com and on Twitter.

3/26/2013
I've added Hart's Pass as a resupply/start/end point. That is all.

Oh, there is also a 95% chance I'll be on the PCT myself in a month.

7/14/2012
Ok, version 5.0 is online!
This was in beta for a couple months so any issues should be resolved by this point. Please contact me if you find anything wrong or can't figure something out.

4/28/2012
More Updates!
  • This planning program now uses data from the 2005 edition of the PCT Data Book. The Data Book derives its data points from the 2003 edition of the California PCT Guidebook and the 2000 edition of the Oregon/Washington PCT guidebook.

    I verfied the data against the 2004 edition of the Oregon/Washington PCT guidebook but the changes were neglibile or possible typos, so I did not update the data to the 2004 edition of the OR/WA PCT guidebook. (For example: In a few cases in the 2004 OR/WA guidebook, the section summary totals at the start of each section did not equal the total of the corresponding data points when added up.)

    Important!
    Because of the trail data change, the trail distances have changed slightly. You can see details of the changes on the discrepancy detail page.

  • 71 new places to start/stop/resupply have been added. Some of these are redundant in that they are at the same exit point on the PCT. This was only done for asthetic reasons to make your plan more accurately reflect where you are resupplying. I used Halfmile's PCT Trail Notes to help determine which resupply points would be most essential to have added to the program.
  • New maps and graphs. After 14 years I bid goodbye to the PCT graph generator script I wrote in 1998. Since it is 2012 there are a lot more freely available graphing packages available now. There are still a few kinks to work out so the appearance of the graphs might change from time to time.
  • Each trail segment now shows the appropriate PCT guidebook sections.
  • I added an option to make the graphs "full scale" (0-14,000ft) or "Auto scale" (determined automatically). This is accessed by click thing the "+Display Options" via the adjust page.
  • Added an opt-in "Live Map". This essentially shows where each PCT hiker is at (approximately) on the PCT based on their active hiking plan. The map updates every few hours.

    You can now select one of your hiking plans to serve as your "active plan". When you select this, your trail name (nickname) will show up on the map along with an optional link to your blog/website. For obvious privacy reasons this is opt in only. Only one plan is allowed to serve as your "active plan". You can configure your trail name and web url on the account settings page.

  • Added section start/end dates to the adjust page
  • Added the ability to expand/collapse a given section on the adjust page. Collapsing a section will allow you to ignore portions of the plan that you have already done, etc.
  • Added an option to update your most recent resupply arrivial point and date. Updating this will ONLY alter your arrival/departure dates for future resupplies.
2/23/2012
Updates!
  • Thanks to user Brett Fisher for pointing out a slight program bug. It was "slight" in that it was hard to reproduce and only affected the time between your arrival and departure at a resupply layover. Basically, when you would select the "always take the rest of the day off" option at a resupply, sometimes it wasn't adding in enough layover hours to place your departure date at the next day. You should still doublecheck your plan to make sure nothing significantly changed.
  • On the "Adjust" tab, I added quick navigation arrows between the points on the map and the ones on the plan settings panel. Click 'em and you'll figure out how they work
  • I cleaned up some of the layout where things were not centering/lining up like they should.
  • I finally got around to adding a "Donate" button. This site doesn't burn up any bandwidth like the humanclock.com and humancalendar.com websites do, but it does take some time. If you want to buy me a virtual beer/coffee then that is always nice though.

2/7/2012
I made a change so the distance to the resupply will always be in the standard unit system. Since some of the resupply points are combinations of walking and hitchhiking, it is a little more involved process to try and have the distances convert if you are using the metric system. I will get this changed in the future.

7/20/2011
I fixed a bug that would only show up when using the metric system in certain cases. If you are using the metric system please doublecheck your plan, the calculated days between resupplies might differ slightly. Thanks to Robert in Austria for pointing this out!

4/2/2011
I added the specfic "trail" and "town" layover days to the plan summary page. Thanks to Erin for the suggestion. I also added a view option to dump all of the overview map sections onto a single page.


3/6/2011
Version 4.0 is online! This is a nearly-complete rewrite of the program. PLEASE let me know if you find any problems.

New features include:
  • "98% Complete" rewrite! Bugfixes, UI overhaul, and many other changes.
  • A new decade: a new background color. (the 90's was green, 00's were dark blue, lighter blue for the 10's).
  • Can clone and delete plans.
  • Overview maps and graphs that change with your start points.
  • If the arrival date lands on a US Federal Holiday (2011,2012), Saturday, or Sunday; the day name is highlighted in red indicating the post office/town might have more limited access.
  • You can now specify separate layover days "on-trail" vs. "in-town" layover days.
  • Option to automatically take the rest of the day off at a resupply point.
  • Graphs available in metric format. (change this in account settings).
  • The trail plot on the graphs are no longer black, but a more realistic brown.
  • Separate "notes" field added to each section so you can write notes on a section/resupply specific level.
  • When creating a new plan, the more popular resupply points are checked by default.
  • Note: I have removed the specific details (addresses, ammenities, etc.) about each resupply section. I have been somewhat out of the loop from the interworkings of the PCT, so I'd rather leave these sorts of details to other people. It isn't 1997 anymore and THE INTERNET is a bigger place now, so there are more up-to-date resources out there for this sort of thing such as postholer.com and Yogi's Guides.
Conversion issues:
  • Due to new password restrictions, the old passwords will no longer work. Click the "forgot password" button to get a new password. If that doesn't work please contact me.
  • All existing plans have been converted to work with the new system. The only known issue is that resupply arrival dates for some plans created in 2000-2006 might have drifted by a day. This was due to an issue of the code running on different servers over the years and the timezone offsets changing. (this issue has been corrected in the 4.0 version).

    In the previous version, any "Extra Days" you added to a section are now "Extra On-trail Days".
IMPORTANT! I changed the password system/requirements so your existing password will not work. Please click on the "forgot password" button to have a new password sent to your email address. Sorry for the inconvenience. If you didn't have an email address (or had an old one) associated with your account, please write me and I'll help you out.


7/5/2009
Version 3.1 is online. I added the cross section graphs back into the program after a six year hiatus. These graphs are part of the new (unreleased) v4.0 version of the program but I backported them to this version. Also, the "per day" calculations no longer factor in extra layover days. This was a common request/complaint so I changed it. PLEASE let me know if you find any problems. I updated the resupply towns to indicate that Ollalie Lake is no longer a resupply option. I left it in the program however, but changed the text accordingly.


3/1/2004
Thanks to Sheila Pearson for sending in a long list of changes to the post office/town information page.


8/15/2003
I am back in Portland, Oregon now. New PCT planner site will be up after I finish the new humanclock.com website. When that will be exactly, eh, how about we change the subject. :) I had to pull the graphs from the system because my ISP changed a few things around and they quit working correctly, they will be back in at some point.


10/23/2002
Yup, I'm still in Australia. You can follow me biking around Australia.


1/24/2002
Oh dear, such neglect. I'm trying to get the site revised but it is going slow. Most of my time has been spent on the clock picture website. (check it out, a photo for every minute of the day!) I'm going to Australia in a week and hope to update this site via my laptop.


5/6/2001
I've made a bunch of changes and linked up this version to the outside world. There are still a few bugs floating around. The old version of this program is still online [edit: no longer as of 2009]. Please contact me if you have problems or have questions.


4/15/2001
New version (3.0) is finally online at its own domain of pctplanner.com! This program is a much needed rewrite to the PCT planning program I wrote in 1997. New features are added, most importantly, user accounts with the ability to save your plan. I have been working on this new version on and off for the past two years and am happy to finally have it done. A big thank you goes out to everyone who has given me feedback over the past few years and my friends for putting up with my whining / anti-social behavior while I worked on this program.

7/15/2000
Eh, ignore that last news item stating the new version of the planning program would be online around July 1999.

6/20/1999
$21.8 million buyout offer turned down (kidding). New version should be online in a month or so.

10/15/1998
Made a couple code changes for the graphs and moved the site to a new ISP.

9/3/1998
Updated the layout of the pages, enjoy.

6/22/1998
I added maps from street atlas USA to the post office section. Site is now at newestindustry.com.

1/29/1998
Version 2.0 is online. The primary feature is that there are now cross-section graphs generated for each trail segment of your hike.

1/6/1998
Added Pooh Corner to the post office / resupply section

1/3/1998
I added an option to hike at a slower pace the first few days of your hike.

12/31/1997
Sonora Pass added as a resupply option.

12/16/1997
Version 1.0 is online!




Disclaimer: all calculations and data are believed to be correct but are not guaranteed.
Please double check the calculations and trail/resupply data before starting a hike.