Easy 30 mile days in the desert.

Here is the secret to getting big easy miles when hiking the desert section of the Pacific Crest Trail( PCT).   It’s amazing as you can get a 30 mile day in and still spend most of the day laying in the shade.    Your pack will be light because after about 6:30 at night you don’t need much water.   Your feet will feel great because they get a 5-6 hour rest in the middle of the day.

  • Start hiking at 4-5am  and hike until about 10-11am taking breaks as needed.   Get your first 15 miles in.
  • Find some shade and sleep.  Be sure to sleep with your feet elevated.
  • Get hiking by 4:00-5pm walk until 10-11pm.    Get your next 15 miles in and then call it a night.
  • Repeat.

It you only want to do 20 mile days, well then, it will be really easy.

If you hike when it’s hot, you are going to need a ton of water and the trail will be brutal.    If you hike when it is cool, it will be easy and you won’t need to carry much water.

Related posts: Backpacking lights

How to keep your umbrella from blowing away while you take your siesta.

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Hermit, long distance hiker, primitive cabin dweller, seeker.

3 thoughts on “Easy 30 mile days in the desert.”

  1. True! When I hiked the PCT in 2006 I did exactly what you’re suggesting here. When I would stop for my noon siesta and see other hikers passing me, I would pose the proverbial question “Mad dog, or Englishman?” They would stare back quizzically, obviously deranged from the heat.

    Once I restarted my hike for the day I would inevitably pass by their tent and hear them snoring, even though the temperature had dropped by 15 degrees and there was still plenty of light left.

    Some other tips in this regard:
    1. If possible plan your siesta around a water source where you can “camel up” and have plenty of water for cooking.
    2. Take some time to build a shade lean-to if no other shade is present using your tyvek or ground tarp.
    3. Don’t pack a tent for the desert, it’s really just dead weight.

  2. Maybe you don’t need a tent but you need some kind of shelter. In 2008 there was rain, sleet, hail, and snow in late May in the desert.

    I went across the San Felipe hills during the day wearing a down vest, a fleece balaclava, and a raincoat.

    I think if you’re going to play in the mountains you should be prepared for any weather.

  3. True, you need something to keep the elements off you, I was fine with a rain poncho used a make shift shelter. Usually I would find a downed tree and stake the poncho out to the side. Kept me nice and dry and warm (even it had been raining for hours, the area under the log wasn’t wet). The only time I felt I really wanted a tent was when I had to hike through a forest that was recently burned to the ground, it was raining and I got pretty soaked. I did find it rather funny to see people pitching tents when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was 80 degrees in the desert, but whatever makes you happy.

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