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!
Yipes, so soon! Sounds like you’re almost prepared, gear wise, though.
Extra digicam cards, good. How’re ya gonna recharge cam battery? Carry extra battery(s)? Li-ion has a pretty good shelf life. Solar charger? (Naaaaah, don’t.) Pack at least one spare, charged, in each drop-shipment? Return depleted batteries home via envelope (too expensive and toxic to toss; lithium battery shipment via USPS is resticted, not impossible)? Better yet, immediately plug in charger and charge cam battery at PO while sorting freshly picked-up shipment; drop charger back in small box/envelope and use pre-addressed labels to send forward to next drop point Post Office, charge again next time. You take such good pictures of your hikes, a.
Thanks, glad you like the pics.
I have two extra batteries for the camera. The three together got me through 20 days on the JMT with no recharging, but I am planning to bring the wall charger and charge at POs as you mention. Bounce boxes sound too fiddly, so for now I’m planning to just carry it (2.2 oz). For memory cards, I’ll be sending them back to R for him to download pics & send back to a future stop.