Over planning for this hike is very common. As Mike Tyson used to say, “everyone has a good plan until I hit them in the mouth”. Since the PCT will undoubtedly hit me in the mouth several times, I have decided to keep things low key and not aggressively planned out. As of today, these are my general strategies for the first several hundred miles.
Pack Weight. My “big 3′ weight is pretty good (backpack, sleeping bag and pad, and tent) weighing 7.8 pounds. I chose the Big Agnes UL2 Fly, the Gossamer Mariposa 65 liter backpack and the Montbell 30* sleeping bag with Exped pad). Miscellaneous gear weighs about 5.4 lbs (I am bringing a Jetboil stove; I just can’t picture eating all cold food with no hot chocolate). I am packing 4 pounds of backup clothes, including my poncho, puffy and longjohns, adding 4 pounds to the total. This brings my pre-food and water weight to about 17 pounds. Not too bad. Each liter of water weights 2 pounds, and each days food also weighs about 2 pounds, so my actual hiking weight will range between 25-35 pounds.
Resupply vs Bounce box or mailed boxes. I will mail a bounce box with emergency clothes, some food, a tablet (for blog entries, etc.) to each town I plan on staying in and will likely take a zero day in (probably about every 100 miles or 7-10 days), but will largely just resupply at each store or shop that is available. This limits your food options, and does add to the cost, but does avoid being a prisoner of the post office hours of operation.
Daily hiking distance. No clue at all. I hope to be able to average around 15 miles per day, but won’t over-stress my body to reach that goal. I really hope to get 20 miles to the Moreno campground on day 1, but I understand the last 4 miles out of Hauser canyon is straight up, and very brutal at the end of the day. However, since there is limited water sources the first 20 miles (a good stream at mile 4.4 is it), high motivation to making it to the famous Moreno malt shop certainly exists.
Rest stops and zero days. Again, no clue here, but I plan on being flexible and taking off as much time as I need.
How far to go. I have a permit for the entire 2653 miles form Mexico to Canada, and have set aside enough time (6 months) to finish, but realistically that seems unlikely. I plan on listening to my body, and see how I feel as the adventure continues. The same goes for the available side trips (such as summiting Mt Whitney), I will just have to see how I feel.