Keeping track of hikers' progress on the PCT
Jan 29, 2020 at 7:41 pm #3629270Jason SchwartzBPL Member
I’ve just received my PCT thru hike permit for this year. It says in the terms that the hiker must start on the day and location listed on the permit and complete a trip for 500 or more miles.
My question is this:
How do they keep track of that? I assume there’s a log to sign at the start point, but how do they know that the permit holder is hiking continuously for the entire trip? What happens if injury or life circumstances cause the permit holder to leave the trail for some period of time? I have a wedding to attend partway through the trip; will that possibly invalidate my permit?Jan 29, 2020 at 8:28 pm #3629271HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Southern California: It’s pretty much an honor system, but in Hauser Cyn (mile 15) is monitored by the FS and border patrol. If it looks like a dirty hippy convention, BP has been known roust people with high powered lights according to one SD trail angel I knew (now retired). FS only checked a couple days in the last 4 years though. Maybe this year will be different? The only other permit check might be Mt San Jacinto (Idyllwild?) once in a blue moon.
Hikers start dropping out from mile #1 in SoCal (bus stop to San Diego is just off mile 1.5), and the attrition just keeps happening so they aren’t that concerned about the number.
That said if something is strange (like mountain bike poaching), FS will be out checking permits (until the BBQ calls back in town). Bring a full sized copy of your permit.
Sierras and central Oregon crossing Highway 20 – this is where the permit checks get serious. Think with the new Oregon restrictions, Jefferson Park will be checked as well.
North of Jeff park is getting near Portlandia day use parks (where thru-hikers look like “stranger danger”), so not sure a permit is really enforceable. Haven’t heard anything about Washington..Jan 29, 2020 at 8:41 pm #3629272HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Just to add to my comments above, while staying legal to the permit, PCTA and the various agencies do try to keep the bureaucracy to a minimum so thru-hikers can enjoy their hike.
Even BP (border patrol) are relatively friendly even at the southern terminus, just don’t ask for support from them or bug them .. sometimes they’ll even offer a ride if you spent your -1 day at the Green Store.
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