Year Over Year

Good morning. I’m sitting at my desk wishing that we, as a society, had invested more time and effort into creating better short term annual forecasting models. “Matt, you’re a nut,” I can hear you thinking. And yeah, you’re probably right. There is method to my madness.

Earlier this morning I spent time re-reading the PCTA permitting information. Knowing what’s available in 2021 means I’ll have a good idea of what will become available in 2022. I’d been thinking I’d travel with the heard NOBO, probably leaving late April so that I’d be a few weeks behind the lot of them as well as the some of the snow. As I was reading the wall of text and thinking about my potential trip an idea was itching the back of my mind. Something about snow.

All of California is already dry

Oh yeah, that something you read on twitter just yesterday. Seems the California Department of Water Resources is reporting that the whole of the State’s snow pack has melted out.

For obvious reasons, this sucks if you live in California. It has some profound and potentially life threatening implications if you’re planning on hiking across the State.

The first of which is fire closures. You can’t hike 2,650 miles of closed trail. You probably shouldn’t hike 2,650 miles of fire smoke impacted trail even if it’s open. And this summer will potentially be a stinker for all those permit holders headed across the state. PCTA is currently reporting seven trail closures along the route in SoCal alone and fire season really hasn’t gotten going yet.

So back to my earlier thought, #itdbecoolif we had seasonal or annual modeling for precipitation along the West Coast. Then I could look at it and say with a modicum of certainty 2022 is or is not the year to take on the PCT.

PCT trailhead at Snoqualmie Pass in May of 2021 has adequate snowpack

Look, I’m not looking for perfect, just doable. And, I understand that my trekking concerns are a tiny fraction of the human suffering that occurs because of drought in the West. Information and its derivative modeling is such a powerful tool. Knowing, even if that knowing is based on some amount of guesswork, is still better than constantly stabbing in the dark. The good that something like this could do for California’s food networks is measurable in the billions, imagine if the lessons and techniques were applied to a place like Ethiopia.

As an ape, we have so much potential, which we make a routine to blindly squander. The questions that need answering are usually obvious, but may lack sparkle. We consistently seek glitter. Futurist is a dirty word.

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