PCT – 9 Days To Go

The 2013 edition of traveling the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is just about ready to launch.  Nine days from now we head out in the car for Seiad Valley, California.  My wife will be driving along the trail while I will be walking it.  I expect to hit Donner Pass about a month later and then run back up to Washington and tackle Rainy Pass to Stevens Pass.We have a couple of things left to do, but by and large are just waiting for next Saturday to roll around so we can leave.  I am more than ready 🙂

I managed to squeeze in 3 hikes in the Olympics this spring.  Would have liked another, but the calendar didn’t cooperate.  But it was enough to test out new gear and food, as well as get a few trail miles on the legs.  I have been running about 25 miles a week for the past 3 months, but that is not really the same as trucking up a hill all day carrying 20 pounds.  It will still take a while to get the trail legs in good shape, but at least the process has started.

I spent much of the late winter and early spring dehydrating food and trying out cold meals.  I have a big tub of food prepared now, enough for 35 trail days, which should get me through the two PCT segments I am doing this summer plus another trip or two in the Olympics this fall.  I have a better variety of meals this year, compared to last year, although I will be looking to improve that further next year.  The Washington segment will be close to a week long, but the California stretch never requires me to carry more that 3.5 days of food at a time, which is nice; especially since I will be carrying much more water in California than will be necessary in Washington.

My pack is all but packed.  In addition, I have a bin set aside where I am putting spare socks, gloves, headnets and other extras to replace anything easily broken or lost.  Also included are consumables like TP, wetwipes, sunscreen & Deet.  Plus things that I might want to take for some segment of the trail: raingear, microspikes, warmer clothes, etc.  I have been trying to load this bin for a while now.  When I think of something I will/might need along the way, I drop it in the bin.  Hopefully that will reduce the amount of stuff forgotten.

While it is possible to hike the PCT without a map, it is not something I would try; in part because I am paranoid about getting lost, and I just like maps and knowing where I am on them.  I am actually taking two maps along with me.  One is on my phone, with Halfmile’s maps loaded into Backcountry Navigator.  This is the primary map for keeping me unlost and knowing exactly where I am.  The second map is the big Forest Service laminated maps.  I have cut them in half and marked them up with mileage and water sources.  This map is carried in an external pack pocket and used for general navigation and location.  I have found that I look at this map pretty frequently during the day, while the phone only gets pulled out if I am confused. The laminated FS maps weigh a bit more than printing out Halfmile’s maps, but I really like the longer view of the FS map.

I have a friend joining me for a week in the middle of the California section.  He is new to backpacking without a lot of gear.  So I have another pile to load into the car that is stuff he will be using; stove, tent, tarp and hammock (not sure which he will end up using), and trekking poles.  Hopefully I won’t forget anything that I have told him I would bring along.

And then there is the myriad of little things that have to be taken care of before leaving home for a month and a half.  We have arranged for a house sitter to stay while we are gone; collecting mail, watering plants and providing some security.  I have 7 weeks worth of pills for my mother-in-law all divided out into little pill bags for her to take to her other daughter’s house.  The gardens are all on soaker hoses / drip lines with timers to keep them alive while I am gone.  The home front should be well provided for while we are gone.

So looking forward to this trip and the chance to walk through the creation with my Creator.

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