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Hiking on Pacific Crest Trail

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by sigboi, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. sigboi

    sigboi Seattle Active Member

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    Has anyone hiked on this trail before? Planning on doing a hike with the family in the next couple weeks, just a day hike, get there early, hike to the lakes and back before dusk. Hiking newbie here.

    Has anyone seen any bears or mountain lions out there? Sketchy people?

    Should I be armed more than a 9mm sig, and .380 bodyguard bug? Also have an ar15 I could bring... but don't know if that's overkill or if people will call the cops on me lol.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Navman

    Navman Canby Oregon Active Member

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    I helped build 150 miles of the PCT back in the 70's along with a hardy bunch of guys.

    Never saw a cat but they probably saw us, saw many bear but we always had firearms just in case.

    Seemed they enjoyed walking the trail as much as we people do lol

    I always had a 357 magnum in the camp and on the trail in case the bears messed with the horses on the trail.

    Everyone should carry in your group, 9mm and up just in case

    People were never a problem, even those that hiked naked in Devils Hole California, pretty mellow in our experience, with the exception of the women that came into our camp wanting to cook for us or "what ever" that idenified themselve as part of "the family" ie Charles Manson.
     
  3. sigboi

    sigboi Seattle Active Member

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    Wow that sounds like a fun time! Only me and my brother know how to shoot, the rest of the group (4 total) would be unarmed. I will prob bring the ar just in case.

    What to do if we see a bear? The nps site says:

    "Close Encounters With Black Bears

    Black bear attacks are extremely rare in the United States and we have no records of any occurring in Mount Rainier National Park. A bear's response to your presence depends heavily on how you respond to the bear's.

    Never feed a black bear, either intentionally or by leaving food unsecured.
    Do not approach bear cubs. An adult may be nearby to protect and defend the cubs.
    Back away from a nearby bear, even if it appears unconcerned with your presence.
    Do not run. Back away slowly. Talk loudly.
    A defensive bear will appear agitated and will often give visual and vocal warnings like swatting or stomping the ground, exhaling loudly, huffing, snapping teeth, or lowering the head with ears drawn back while facing you. This response may escalate to a charge."

    If Charged by a Black Bear

    If the bear stops, slowly back away while talking, keeping the bear in view while leaving the area.
    If it continues, act aggressively, shouting and throwing rocks or sticks.
    If the bear attacks and you have food, distance yourself from the food.
    If the bear attacks and you do not have food, fight back aggressively. This is likely a predatory attack, and the bear is treating you as prey.

    I would pray no one unarmed has to fight a bear with rocks and sticks!
     
  4. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Only as a consequence of travel, but I've hiked many miles of the PCT. I've never run into anything that could eat me, nor any shady individuals- or at least nobody that's going to do anyone any harm. Depending on where you get on, the PCT can be extremely remote, and either way, there's really no reason to be on it unless you're travelling to places and in ways that transients and perpetrators of crimes (marijuana smoking excluded) just have absolutely no reason to be. There's nothing to eat out there, no shelter, and too many hikers/backpackers all over it.

    When I was younger, I'd have a carbine or a hunting rifle.. but in the last decade, my only reason for going up there is to climb the peaks and pinnacles it passed by, and have subsequently been without firearm.

    There have been some extremely isolated incidents on the PCT... women being raped, men being robbed.. animals attacking. But we're talking extremely isolated and infrequent.
     
  5. ArgentineSteel

    ArgentineSteel Vancouver, WA Active Member

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    I've seen bear far off, and bear sign up close. I've had large elk stomp through camp. Bears should be around any of the berry fields in August.

    Sketchy people, I've seen some, they were just a little crazy. No one violent, just off. Most are friendly and just hiking along.

    I hiked with a small .357 and the only time I considered pulling it was the time a horse rider passed me while I was humping a 60 lb pack up a long hill at the end of a long week and told me to get a horse.

    Where are you hiking? I've done most the Oregon portion, but since it goes from Mexico to Canada there's quite a bit of variation.
     
  6. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Seattle in the park next to the Rock and Roll museum is more dangerous then the PCT.
     
  7. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I haven't hiked the Crest for years but I agree with MARK W completly! Never had a problem, bears were very rare. I didn't carry for years, until we were on a hike to clean up a lake, sponsored by REI. When the group came down to the bus there was a big panic! Some nut had run over a tent with two college girls in it and finished them with an axe in a camp site about three miles up the road from our trail head! After that I never hiked or went into the woods without a 6" .357! A rife is completely overkill and could cause you more grief than its worth. Have a great hike and remember, it's not Beirut! It's extremely pleasant!
     
  8. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Yep, yer gonna die. The real thing you have to worry about is mountain lions. They always bite you in the back of the neck all sneaky like. And then you're dead. The trick is for your gaggle to all wear Nixon masks facing backwards.. the kind with just a string so you can still see. This will confuse the murderous beasts into thinking you don't even have a back of the neck and the the jig is up. Confounded catamounts aren't the only ones that can be sneaky!
    Good luck.
     
  9. sigboi

    sigboi Seattle Active Member

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    Thanks for the great advice guys and the laughs! Yeah I don't get out to the wilderness much so I was worried. I was trying to figure out how to pack my ar with 200 rds and then stopped and laughed at myself. Just 2 pistols should be fine for 4 people.

    We're planning on hiking in wa from the 410hwy down to cougar lake and back. PCT is the only trail that allows dogs. Just a morning to afternoon hike. Hope to be back before dark.
     
  10. WhyteCheddar

    WhyteCheddar East of Moscow by the Willamette Well-Known Member

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    Buddy of mine did the entire trek, from Mexican border to Canada. Said he didn't see a single bear or cat.
    That being said, I'd pack for sure anyway. Two legged creeps are probably a bigger concern
     
  11. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Some fellers before going into the bush after wounded leopard (very similar to our mountain lions) would swaddle their necks with thick canvas.
    I really hope you know what you're doing.
    Again, good luck.
     
  12. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I did a fair amount of riding horses on the PCT many years ago. I carried a .357 and had a .30-.30 in the scabbard at all times. Just a standard load out for me pretty much anytime I rode. Riding or hiking the PCT to me is just like going any where else, and really is more of a threat just due to the isolation, and the fact that dirt bags are likely closer to trail heads, and road crossings than actually transiting the trail.

    If I was hiking I would carry my standard 9mm with extra mag on holster, and 2 more in my pack. Just me. Most of the bears that you run into are the black bears, and they are no threat compared to the browns you could encounter. I have seen the black bears a few times and most time they were beating feet away from us real fast. Throw a rock after them. I would carry bear spray for sure, but I would also carry one of those Freon air horns. I saw a guy blast one of those at a black bear and yell at him and that bear was just hauling a** away from.

    I am sure there may be lions at times, but there is so much traffic on the PCT this time of year it is probably very little threat.

    If I was in brown country, I want my Mossberg 500 tactical with 00 buckshot over my shoulder, but that or the AR are a bit much for a day hike in an area with no heavy predator types. That much extra weight can detract significantly from your energy level 1/2 way in and at the end of the day.
     
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  13. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'm curious for those who would carry their 2lb pistol and 4 lbs of ammo would you still cut half the handle off your toothbrush to save weight?

    I did a lot of backpacking in my younger days and I don't think I ever once worried about packing heat. A good Swiss army knife sure.
     
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  14. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I packed a 1911 and 28 rounds of hardball for 90 days as well as my M-2 and 7 30 round mags.
    I'd rather pack a tiny handgun with a huge recoil than the above. One 357, maybe 12 rounds max.
    A weekend trip in the midst of tourist season, on a heavily traveled route,12 rounds, seems enough
     
  15. Rock solid

    Rock solid Nw oregon Member

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    I've came accross quite a few black bears and almost all the times I stood my ground and they took off usually in a big hurry. Only twice did I feel the need to back away, one was a sow with two cubs within 40 yards that didn't want me that close and another was a boar that was in a pissy mood both times I backed off and they did the same. Best advice with black bears is just keep your cool and if they show aggression back off. Wouldn't worry about cats as long as your in a close group the cats usually go for easy targets if there going to go after a person, ie the one that's alone or separated from the group.

    All that being said still better to have a pistol than not and need one. Enjoy your hike!
     
  16. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I tried to tally the nights I spent alone, sleeping on the ground, w/o tent in the Cascades. Around 15-30 in mid-summer I figure, no worries!
    The deer have moved down from the high country to mid level, the bear are in the berry fields and the cats follow the deer
    I would worry more about blisters than bears because blisters are a 100% sure thing
     
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  17. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Not if you wear good footwear... I do not get blisters
     
  18. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    More importantly, footwear that fits properly. Not all boots fit all feet... people get hung up on a brand of boot because of the label, and stubbornly (or ignorantly) stick to it, trying to size up or down, when that manufacturer plain doesn't fit the shape of your foot.
     
  19. ROC

    ROC Estacada Member

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    My brother in law through hiked it one season years ago. He didn't have a pocket knife for the trip so I offered him his pick of mine, he chose a Swiss Army Classic and said everything else was to heavy. I think his total gear weight was about 12 pound and he was hiking 20 + miles a day. He did not own a gun and nothing on the trip caused him to want one.

    I would just carry like normal.
     
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  20. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    I suppose you could take a gun for protection from 2-legged critters, but I wouldn't worry about much else. There's normally a lot of hikers on trails like this, so animals often steer clear.

    Like Mark, I hiked for years w/o any gun - just a Swiss Army Knife (Climber). Somehow, I survived....

    I recently got back from a trip to Montana where I took a Glock 20. Honestly, it was a lot of dead weight to be carrying around all week, and if I had the trip to do over again, I wouldn't take it.

    One of my favorite PCT hikes is north out of Snoqualmie Pass up to Ridge/Gravel Lakes. For most people, a little long for a day hike, but I really like the scenery. Doesn't seem to get as much use as other Snoqualmie Pass trails for some reason.