This is it! Resupply boxes are put together, my flight is booked, and my pack is once again stuffed to capacity. The Pacific Crest Trail is happening!
I made the decision to hike the PCT after returning from New Zealand. I have always wanted to hike this trail and now seems like as good of a time as any. However, a late April/early May start going northbound was just too soon for me, so I decided I would go southbound (SOBO). That meant waiting until late June or early July until most of the snow melts in the Northern Cascades. Even still, I may be walking through some snow, which will be a unique experience for me. My previous thru-hikes have involved just about everything nature could throw at me but not a lot of lingering snowpack.
Planning for a long thru-hike gets a lot easier once you’ve got a few under your belt…but it’s still a lot of work! This time around, I have the benefit of hiking in my home country. The logistics are much simpler. I can purchase just about anything on Amazon.com and have it delivered to points along the trail in just a few days. I can also receive items from my friends and family. I can even meet up with friends that live along or near the trail. I’m hoping the some of them can go section hiking with me, too.
Figuring out what gear to bring has also been pretty easy. Basically I’m using all the same stuff that has worked nearly perfectly for the past 2,500 miles. See my Gear and Reviews header. I will also be testing a few items as a Trailspace.com Review Corps member. They are a pair of Altra Superior 3.5 trailrunners and an ultralight jacket from Smartwool. I turned down a few other testing opportunities just because I couldn’t bear to use anything but the gear I’m familiar with…like my tent. Once you find something that works so well, you don’t want to give it up.
In the past few months, I’ve also been:
- downloading all the maps, GPS files, resupply spreadsheets, trail notes, etc. All this has to get organized on my laptop and smartphone.
- bookmarking links to all the pertinent websites and blogs, all the while reading through this information.
- making all the travel arrangements to get to the trailhead. I was able to use frequent flier miles for a free ticket to Seattle, where a former shipmate, Jon, will be giving me a place to stay and a ride to the trail…couldn’t have worked out better.
Even the record locator for my flight begins with PCT…it’s a sign!
- ordering food supplies in bulk from Amazon to fill 5 resupply boxes and my first week of trail food.
- filling my MP3 player with tons of music, books, and podcasts to keep me entertained and in deep thought while walking.
- going through my gearlist, adding a few items (bear line, bear canister, microspikes, ice axe), and mending some of the wear and tear on my gear used during previous thru-hikes.
- writing reviews on some of my favorite gear (see my Gear and Reviews header).
- updating this blog with the last adventures in NZ plus all the new information.
- purchasing and activating a Spot Messenger, at the request of my parents. They just love the tracking feature! I will be adding a tracking map to this blog, as well.
- selling a lot of excess and unused items on Ebay and Craigslist to raise money for this 5-month endeavor. This even included selling my friend’s mangos out in front of my house.
The pre-hike mango diet, courtesy of my good friend Eve!
- fattening up—I’ve gained back all the weight I’d lost and then some. It’s going to take some trail miles to get back into my ‘Twig’ state. But having a buffer to burn off is a good thing…it just won’t feel that way going up those first hills.
- training–this is kind of the sad part. I’ve been running and doing strength and core exercises 4x per week, but only started walking again. After 13 miles combined over 1 weekend, my legs were sore! That distance was just a morning warm-up a few months ago. But I have faith that no matter how bad of shape I am in, it will come back quickly on the trail.
I want to thank everyone that is following along and has offered so much support and well wishes for this trip. It really means a lot to me. Let the adventure begin!