As Pacific Crest Trail “Section Hikers” we differ from the true “PCT Through-Hiker” in that we can hike the trail in any order and in any direction that we please. This is the kind of freedom we like. Our previous two hikes in California Section C were both Northbound, but this hike was planned from the outset to be Southbound. Why? Because we did our homework and checked the elevation profile of the trail. We made darn sure that we started at a significantly higher point than the finish! As we stated to the other hikers that we met along the way (all of them sweating and puffing up the trail): “We take our PCT hikes downhill – both ways!”
And this section was truly a whopper of a downhill, with over 6500 feet between the highest and lowest points. Being the ever-changing PCT, there was also more than 3000 feet of uphill climbing here and there along the way, which yielded a total descent of 9500 feet! This was nearly two miles of elevation loss! And it would have been a true knee-destroyer if it weren’t for the fact that it spread the change out over a total of more than 35 miles. True, some sections were steeper than others, but all in all, the PCT is known for being a well-graded trail. Just the same, we sure were glad to be hiking southbound this time!
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