The PCT may become ‘all but impossible’ to hike as climate change intensifies

Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums General Forums Environmental Issues The PCT may become ‘all but impossible’ to hike as climate change intensifies

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #3751146
    Jon Solomon
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lyon/Taipei
    W I S N E R !


    From what I’ve seen in Angeles National Forest (So CA, PCT runs through the high country), once the conifers burn, they’re not coming back…remnants of another climate it seems. The conifers that burn essentially get replaced by chaparral. I imagine similar will happen through the Sierra; just doesn’t seem to be enough water to support big trees anymore.

    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member


    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    Wow. That was a pretty depressing read.

    BPL Member


    I hiked Blackrock trailhead to the Kern a couple weeks ago and hung out with one of the guys who has rights to the cabin at ~mile 8 who explained the history of the area (in the general Kennedy Meadows area of the sierras). The first 6 miles of trail are nicely wooded in big sequoias. Then just after Jordan hotspring a fire burned all the way down to the Kern ~2000 or 2003.

    Not a single pine has repopulated the burn area for 4 miles. Not. 1. Even brush has been slow to grow back. Its mostly seasonal grass.The only young trees were near his cabin and were (slowly) growing because they watered them regularly. Even then, after 20 years they were maybe head high (6′).

    If nothing has grown back in 20 years, I think that’s sadly a look into future burns of the west. Once we lose trees they’re gone for millennia, until the earth goes through another hot/cold cycle (which takes ~250,000 years for the full cycle, or 125k to get back to where we are now).

    Along those lines, a friend wanted to do the Jordan hike in August. I laughed and said hell no, we’re doing it NOW. We’ll be completely smoked off the trail by then, guaranteed. Glad I got to see Painters camp before it burns. I feel the same about the rest of the great tree areas in the west. See them now because we’re on borrowed time.

    BPL Member


    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    These trails will exist but may need to get renamed if they dry up (the Desert 2600?).  Think there’d be more athletic adventures (ran into trailrunners prepping for the Angeles Crest 100 on said Angeles Crest). Maybe water/Gatorade stations and private water caches will be needed.  .. or businesses pop up to supply all the hikers (day to thru) with cold drinks/warm food.  California is reportedly linking the coast to the PCT meeting up at Hikertown/Tejon Pass for tourism purposes but they’ll have to do something about water, fire seasons, etc..

    I just got finished with the southern part of the PCT and while water sources aren’t as plentiful as the wet years, still had plenty to drink.

    The vegetation was all green and saw quite a bit of birds (hummingbirds, blue jays, red ones, etc..) coming from Wrightwood to Acton. Of course old timers from the ‘90s say there were way more trees.  Grab it while you can…

    May not hike it again as I don’t want to “re-see” it as brown and dry.

    AK Granola
    BPL Member


    I think we’ll all be so busy trying to defend ourselves, move to places with food and water, free of horrific storms, that going for a long hike won’t really be a goal any more. I try not to think about it, but I work for an institution that has been gathering climate data for decades. The outlook is not rosy. It’s not whether, it’s just when.

    Jeff McWilliams
    BPL Member


    Locale: Midwest

    AK Granola –

    On that note.  I live in MI but I’m super outdoorsy so people keep asking me why I don’t move to a mountain town.

    I have family reasons, but skyrocketing housing costs, fires, weather, politics, and water access issues are also on the list.

    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    As one who was a professional trail builder and helped build the “Snow Creek Section” (near Wildwood, CA) from scratch for the US Forest Service by BELL BROTHERS I feel saddened by this news. Also as a former teacher of Environmental Studies in a Pennsylvania high school I was expecting this to happen –  just not so d@mn fast!

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!