As I wake up and look out my window, I see an unexpected sight for the first week of April. There is no snow in sight except for the patches of snow that cover Mt. Rose, a local ski resort in Reno. If you listen to the news or have picked up a newspaper in the past week you have been told the Sierras received a record low snowfall this year. The lack of snow run off has transformed lakes, reservoirs, and rivers and have made them unrecognizable. This has and will cause problems for California and Nevada during the upcoming summer. In addition, will cause significant life dangering problems for through-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail this year.
Every year the PCT brings a new challenge to the most seasoned travelers. This years challenge is water.Having enough water is crucial on any hike you go on, especially when you lose access to fill up your bottle everyday. One of the most important things I have learn during my preparation for the PCT, thus far, is having enough water between fill ups decides if you quit or finish the trail. Hikers usually refill their resevories at seasonal streams and creeks. This will not be an issue on the northern part of the trail, however, it might make it nearly impossible for hikers to make it through the Southern California deserts.
As the days become hotter and longer this is only going to get worse and worse. Lucky for PCT hikers there are websites that are updating about once a week letting hikers know which water source are dry. This allows hikers to be concervative with their water and plan for long hauls with their limited supplies. In addition, hikers this year are bringing larger reservoirs and additional containers to avoid the possibility of running out of water.
The idea of running out of water and becoming dehydrated is a terrifying possibility. At the same time it is what hiking any through hike is all about. It is a challenge. It is pushing your body and mind to its limit in order to accomplish a unimaginable goal. In addition, it is about helping others and making friends to help get you through it. This is a feat that can’t be done alone. If you are on the PCT or day hiker please send updates to let one another know what to expect up the trail. In addition donate to the Pacific Crest Trail Association, to help keep the trail maintained for hikers in the future. Good luck to all of the 2015 through hikers.
Be safe out there
Photo contributed to Louis Cahill