Well, you've guys certainly are anxious to hear more about my upcoming hike. =)
A quick summary--I expect to start at the Mexican border the weekend of April 23-25. I'll attempt to slip through all the illegal immigrants and border agents, face off with rattlesnakes and the Mojave Desert. I'll be hiking alone, as usual, although there will likely be hundreds of other prospective thru-hikers also beginning their trek that same weekend. I'm going alone, but I won't necessarily BE alone.
After a month or two of that, I'll head into the High Sierras, including a slight detour to head up Mount Whitney--the highest point in the continental US at over 14,000' above sea level. I'll likely hit lots of snow in this section. =)
Then I'll meander close to Lake Tahoe, through Lassen National Park, eventually landing along the Cascade Range through Oregon and Washington which will take me past Crater Lake, Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, and lots of pretty other mountains.
And finally end up at the Canadian border, about 2,650 miles from where I started. From there, the quickest way "out" back to civilization is to actually hike through the border and into Canada another seven or eight miles until I reach Manning Park, at which point I can find transportation to Vancouver, BC, and back to the United States.
Last Saturday, Amanda and I had lunch with Wildflower--for those of you who read my AT adventures, you might remember her from there. That was where I first met her and we hiked through much of New York together. I wanted to quiz her with a few questions I had about the PCT since she had hiked it several years ago, figuring out what sort of gear I might need for the snow in the Sierra Nevadas. (She recommended the MicroSpikes and an ice axe.) These are sorts of issues I've never had to concern myself with on previous hikes. =) Bear canisters are also required in some parts of the Sierras, which is an item I've never bothered to make use of in the past. I'll be needing all sorts of new gear for this hike. =)
Many sections of the trail require permits to camp in or hike through, from a variety of land managers, but the Pacific Crest Trail Association has been thoughtful enough to provide a "super permit" of sorts for anyone hiking more than 500 miles of the trail that is good for any section of the trail--or the entire thing. Saves a lot of effort of having to pick up permits for all the areas I go through separately.