PCT Permit Day 2018

November 1st was a very important day for Pacific Crest Trail North bound hikers. It was our first permit day! The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) released 35 permits for each starting day in April and May. And let me tell you, it felt like I was getting concert tickets for the hottest boy band. The permits went live at 1:30 pm Eastern time. Carty was at work, so I responsible for hers and mine. I used my laptop and a desktop and applied for two at the same time. Every time I refreshed the page, it gave me the exact seconds I had to wait before the page went live. Before we applied for permits, we wanted more information. We couldn’t find any website or blog that actually detailed what this process would be like. So, here ya go! This is what the PCTA requires for a long distance permit.

  • Starting and ending locations
  • Exact starting date
  • Estimated end date

Every page I got to noted how many minutes I had left at the bottom before my application timed out. Because of the massive traffic the site was receiving, it took so long to load.

  • Traveling by foot or horse
  • Name, address, email, phone, and birthday
  • If we had children that would be traveling with us
  • Questions about our plans for Mount Whitney
  • Option to donate money to the PCTA

I could feel the anxiety manifesting in my arms and shoulders. With only seconds to spare, I signed Carty’s name on the terms and conditions. With no seconds to spare, my application timed out. During my second attempt for my own permit, the day that I had selected for Carty was filled. Through a series of unfortunate events, I will be embarking on the trail two days before Carty. It took me a couple hours to snap out of my funk after finding this out. I had this romanticized idea of what trail life would be. It obviously included my hiking partner and I experiencing the first day and night of thru hiking together. But I guess that’s my first lesson of thru hiking: it will not always go as planned, but be thankful for what does go right. We could have easily not gotten permits. We could have easily gotten permits later in May, or permits with dates two weeks apart.

When Carty got out of work, we headed over to Eastern Mountain Sports for a ceremonial purchasing of our packs. We both selected packs from Osprey’s Volt/Viva collection. It felt ritualistic buying our first big piece of gear. Andrew, the very helpful associate, helped us pick packs based on our needs. I had always been so confused with which size should fit me. I am 5’10” and was always told to wear a women’s small pack. I couldn’t wrap my head around this. What do short women wear if I’m a small? Turns out I am disproportionate and just have a really long legs (which I knew but didn’t initially see how it applied to packs).

By the end of November 1st, we had our permit applications submitted, our packs purchased, and our excitement at an all time high- ready for this exhilarating adventure.

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Comments 1

  • Rebecah : Jan 17th

    What kind of questions did they ask about Mt Whitney? Thank you.


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