2020’s understated wildflower bloom

With dry, warm conditions in January and February and a cold, wet March, the PCT around my place is experiencing the most modest wildflower season in recent memory.

The place locals call “Poppy Hill” (PCT mile 146.2), a hillside which is usually covered with a beautiful carpet of orange Mexican poppies, has just a cluster here and there of the delightful, fragile flowers.

Elsewhere, you have to hunt around to find color.

PCT Hiker dies today just north of my place

I learned some sad news: a PCT hiker died just north of my place. The exact location and identity of the hiker have not been released. More information is available at:

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/local/2020/03/27/cal-fire-chp-rescuing-injured-hiker-pacific-crest-trail-near-mountain-center/2927163001/

PCT thru hikers struggle to decide whether to continue trek

Over the past couple days, I have met a half dozen hikers passing by my place who received the PCTA email and general notice asking them to quit hiking and get off trail in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. I don’t know what they will eventually decide to do (there are no options to get off trail from my place, so they would need to continue hiking at least until Highway 74), but everyone I spoke to was taking this request very seriously. Several offered that they had firmly decided to contact family when they had cell service again to start to make arrangements to get back home. A couple hikers from Germany I spoke with had the added problem of dealing with international travel in these days of cancelled flights and border restrictions.

What will coronavirus (covid-19) mean for 2020 PCT thru hiker season?

With the 2020 PCT northbound thru hiker season underway, and 10-12 hikers passing by my place per day, what are the implications of the European travel ban, closure of Scout and Frodo’s overnight accommodation option in Southern California, the PCTA’s message on Covid-19 for permit holders, along with a number of additional possible logistic and other challenges for thru hikers, on the number of people who will attempt a thru hike in 2020?

Because of the European travel ban, this year will almost certainly not be a record-setting year for number of hikers. (I estimate that Europeans make up around 10% of thru hikers, with that percentage increasing slightly each year.) So far, local weather conditions have had a greater impact in hiker numbers than covid-19, but the hikers passing by my place now started their trek before the travel ban and the large increase in press coverage on the longer-term implications of covid-19 for the US.