State of the Hike: 3 week edition
Can you believe it’s only 3 weeks before I leave for San Diego and the start of this PCT insanity?
I’m not sure I can.
I am holding off on finalizing my start date until April 1st, to see if we get some more rain down here in California. If there’s a big increase in Sierra snow pack, I may push my start date back by a week. Though we’re supposed to get some rain next week, I’m not holding my breath for enough to make a difference.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Center Mountain Snowpack Maps and the California Department of Water Resources Snow Pack Conditions page both give information about the state of Sierra snow — as of today, it’s hovering around or below the lowest snow pack season on record. Conditions could still change between now and when I leave, but as of now, it’s looking like I’ll be just fine with a April 13th departure date.
Crossed off the list
In the last two weeks since my last update, here is what I’ve done for PCT planning:
Related to gear and skills:
- tested/practiced: bivy sack (yes), hiking skirt (no), MLD Burn pack (maybe), Gossamer Gear torso-length nightlight CCF pad (yes)
- purchased & tested a bra that feels great (finally!)
- fixed and tested trekking umbrella (dorky, but useful)
- cut guylines for tarp, and practiced bowline and taut hitch knots
- received a SPOT personal tracker to try (thanks to my dad for loaning me his!)
- started reading and practicing tips on landscape photography
- klepto’d a mini library pencil for trail use
On the food/resupply front:
- decided against: Meal Pack bars (always weird), Epic meat bars (too… juicy?)
- tested & liked: dehydrated bean soups, Lärabars, KIND fruit & nut bars, fritos w/ beans
- picked up 4 sizes of USPS priority mail boxes
With regards to health:
- got prescription for extended wear contacts and enough lenses for 6 months
- tested contacts overnight on the trail
- had women’s health check-up
- started Wilderness First Responder class
To train for the trail:
- hiked Mount Diablo in a 13 mile day trip
- did a 32 mile solo overnight training & shakedown hike on the Ohlone Wilderness Trail
- one weight training session (free weights — squats, bench press, deadlifts)
- went for 4 runs (5 or 10k) in my neighborhood
- 3 mile practice hike with 15 lbs of George RR Martin & Harry Potter books in my backpack
Still on the list
There’s plenty I can’t keep putting off for much longer (cough, RESUPPLY, cough):
For gear and skills:
- order extra memory cards for camera
- decide on and/or acquire my bear canister
- TARP, TARP, TARP!
- get a paper journal
- decide on blogging from the trail
On the resupply front:
- All the Things.
The big picture
My Wilderness First Responder class runs through March 30th; it will be taking all my brain power for the next 8 days. I am having a great time learning about assessing patients in the wilderness, taking vital signs, stabilizing spines, and so much more. I am particularly looking forward to learning about treatment for snake and insect bites, heat & dehydration issues, and hypothermia and other cold-related dangers.
Once the WFR course is over, I will be down to the final 2 week stretch. It will REALLY, DEFINITELY be time to get my first resupply boxes ready, and make any last-minute gear decisions.
It feels surreal that I only have 22 more days of sleeping in a bed under a roof before I launch into All-Nature, All-the-Time mode.
Time to savor the city life while I still can!