Delayed Departure

I had originally planned to leave this Thursday April 24th, in order to attend the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kickoff (ADZPCTKO), but I have decided to wait a week and leave on May 1st.  It will probably be a tad bit hotter in the desert, and I will still need to finish by Oct 1 to avoid the snows in Washington, but I think this is the right thing to do.  There are apparently a record number of hikers this year due to the increased popularity of the trail.  There are apparently close to 1000 planned hikers, and the ADZPCTKO at Lake Morena is full up.  They were gracious enough to tell me they would make room for me but probably not at the campground itself and away from the other hikers, but I would still be competing for camp sites and food at the stores, etc.  I may still have issues with food being bought up, but I will make it work.

I am still very excited to make the jump and get on the trail.

Two weeks to go (plus a tentative schedule)

It is two weeks until I begin my hike at the southern Terminus of the PCT, and it is freaking me out a little bit.  There are about 9-10 places which I will have to mail food out to the trail, so I am trying to get enough snacks, lunches, dinners to not die out there.  I have 36 Big Texas Cinnamon rolls which are like the best vending machine fodder ever, so breakfasts are set for my resupply packages.  Plus the high caloric content is guilt free due to the number of calories I will be burning out there.

I have also been checking out other blogs at http://www.pcta.org/journalist/ and there are a ton of people out hiking already, which has me second guessing my start date.  Plus it is warm in San Diego, so am looking forward to it being even hotter in a couple of weeks. To top it off, I just got my tax returns done and get to write a big check to the IRS.  The favorite thing for all unemployed people everywhere. I just got back from visiting my parents in Wyoming, and my mom was unsympathetic to my tax woes, trying to explain that there are less fortunate people out there.  To which I replied, “Take a look at these boyish good looks!  Everyone is less fortunate!” Still no sympathy forthcoming from that corner.

Alright, here is the tentative schedule.  I hope to be able to stick to it.  If I have enough slack, I will take extras rest days, or slow things down.  However if I get behind, so be it.

Mile Location Miles Pace Hiking Days Arrive Zero(s) Depart B=Buy Food
M=Maildrop
0.0 Mexico Border 1-May
20.1 ADZPCTKO (lake Morena) 20.1 20 1.0 1-May 1 3-May
43.8 Mt. Laguna 23.7 15 1.6 4-May 5-May b
109.5 Warner Springs 65.7 18 3.7 8-May 9-May m
178.8 Idyllwild 69.3 18 3.9 12-May 1 14-May b
265.4 Big Bear 86.6 20 4.3 17-May 1 19-May b
343.0 Cajon Pass 77.6 20 3.9 22-May 23-May b
369.8 Wrightwood 26.8 20 1.3 23-May 1 25-May b
455.2 Agua Dulce (Saufleys) 85.4 20 4.3 28-May 29-May b
559.6 Tehachapi 104.4 20 5.2 2-Jun 3-Jun b
703.8 Kennedy Meadows 144.2 20 7.2 9-Jun 2 12-Jun m
788.9 Independence or Bishop 85.1 20 4.3 15-Jun 16-Jun
878.8 VVR 89.9 18 5.0 20-Jun 21-Jun m
906.7 Mammoth 27.9 18 1.6 22-Jun 23-Jun b
944.8 Tuolumne Meadows 38.1 20 1.9 24-Jun 2 27-Jun b
1018.5 KM Resort 73.7 20 3.7 30-Jun 1-Jul b
1096.0 S. Lake Tahoe 77.5 20 3.9 4-Jul 5-Jul b
1197.5 Sierra City 101.5 20 5.1 9-Jul 2 12-Jul b
1289.5 The Braatens 92.0 20 4.6 16-Jul 17-Jul m
1335.1 Chester 45.6 18 2.5 19-Jul 20-Jul b
1382.2 Old Station 47.1 18 2.6 22-Jul 23-Jul b
1506.5 Mt Shasta 124.3 20 6.2 28-Jul 1 30-Jul b
1606.5 Etna 100.0 20 5.0 3-Aug 2 6-Aug b
1662.0 Seiad Valley 55.5 20 2.8 8-Aug 9-Aug b
1726.8 Ashland 64.8 22 2.9 11-Aug 1 13-Aug b
1829.3 Crater Lake/Mazama Villiage 102.5 20 5.1 17-Aug 18-Aug m
1912.3 Shelter Cove Resort 83.0 21 4.0 21-Aug 22-Aug m
1992.8 Sisters or Bend 80.5 20 4.0 25-Aug 2 28-Aug b
2107.3 Timberline Lodge 114.5 20 5.7 2-Sep 3-Sep m
2155.0 Cascade Locks 47.7 18 2.6 5-Sep 2 8-Sep b
2303.0 White Pass 148.0 18 8.2 15-Sep 16-Sep m
2402.8 Snoqualmie 99.8 20 5.0 20-Sep 21-Sep b
2476.6 Skykomish 73.8 20 3.7 24-Sep 25-Sep b
2574.7 Stehekin 98.1 20 4.9 29-Sep 30-Sep m
2656.2 Canada 81.5 20 4.1 3-Oct 4-Oct b

Edited to reflect new schedule.

Gear

Ok, with only four weeks left until I start, I finally have all of my gear.  (with the exception of the cooking pot which I ordered off of Amazon and seems to be on a rowboat from Japan.  I will give that another week before I cancel it and just buy one from REI.)  I really tried to get my base pack weight down to something manageable, as I did not want to carry a 55 lbs. pack like my brother and I did in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming.  I am happy to say that it all comes out to about 15 lbs. minus food, fuel, and water, which is quite an improvement. 

I also spent five days performing volunteer work on the PCT north of San Bernadino at a place called Mormon Rocks.  That involved carrying 75 lbs concrete bars up the trail and using them to reinforce the outer edge of the trail in areas prone to washing out, as well as using a very large hoe/rake combination called a Mcleod to even out the trail and work on the drainage of water.  There were definitely a few rough spots after the big rain last month.  It was fun to go do that, and I may do it again as there is another opportunity for a few short days closer to home in April.

Anyway, here is the full list of gear

Base

Tent – Copper Spur UL1 w/ footprint – 46 oz.

Sleeping Bag – Western Mountaneering Alpinlite (6’6”) – 33 oz.

Thermarest NeoAir L Sleeping pad – 16 oz.

Backpack (Osprey Exos 58 – L) – 42 oz.

Pack Cover – 4 oz.

8 lbs. 13 oz.

Clothing Worn

Columbia Sportswear Insect Blocker Shirt

Tilley SunHat -

REI Convertible Pants

Darn Tough Socks

Asics GT-2000 Trail shoes

Sunglasses

Clothing Carried

Base thermal shirt – Smartwool NTS 250 mid-crew shirt 10 oz.

Base thermal bottoms – Patagonia Thermal Bottoms – 9 oz.

Marmot DriClime Wind Shirt – 5 oz.

Wind jacket – Patagonia Men’s Houdini Jacket– 4 oz.

2 Pair Socks – 4 oz.

Wool Hat – 2 Oz

North Face Gloves – 2 oz.

2 lbs. 4 oz.

 Cooking

MSR Pocket Rocket Stove– 4 oz

Evernew Titanium Non-Stick Pot (900ml) – 3.5oz

REI Spoon

8 oz.

Water

Sawyer Squeeze Filter– 3 oz.

Camelback – 4 oz.

7 oz.

 Maps

Pocket PCT Databook – 3.8oz

Guthook’s PCT App

Halfmiles PCT App

Compass 2 oz.

6 oz.

Electronics

Phone – 1 oz.

Phone charger

headphones

Suntactics S-Charger 5 – 10 oz.

Eddie Bauer Headlamp – 3 oz.

SPOT Generation 3 – 5 oz.

4 AAA batteries – 1 oz.

1 lbs. 4 oz.

Uncalculated Items

First Aid Kit

Sundries

Water Bottles

Other Items To be Shipped down the Trail

Bear Vault– 44z

Black Diamond Ice Axe – 13.8 oz.

Rain Pants – 8 oz.

Down jacket – Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket – 4 oz.

 

Frequently asked questions.

I thought I would go ahead and post the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.

Q: What is the PCT?

A:  The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail traveling from Mexico to Canada, traversing California, Oregon, and Washington including the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. The Pacific Crest Trail is approximately 2,663 miles long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon–Washington border to 13,153 feet at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.  Contrary to what Tim Clark may tell you, it is in fact the Pacific Crest Trail, not the Pacific Coast Trail.

Q:  Why are you doing this?

A: I think that most people that ask this question are actually wondering why anyone would do this.  There are people who already understand why, and others who don’t.  For those that don’t understand it would be difficult to explain.  To address why I am doing this now?  It is something that I have wanted to do for a number of years, pretty much the top of the bucket list, but the time was never right.  But it was time for a new challenge, and I couldn’t think of any thing more challenging than this.

Q: Will you be carrying a gun?

A: No.  I am honestly surprised how often I have been asked this.  It is after all the Pacific Crest Trail, not the Pakistani Crest Trail.  Most of the things I am worried about (Sun, snow, illness, bugs) can’t really be addressed with a gun.  Plus a gun has additional challenges. First off is the weight.  Also, many times you have to hitchhike which is much more difficult standing on the side of the road holding an AR-15. 

Q:  What will you do when you finish?

A:  Get a job.

Q:  What gear will you use?

A:  I will address that in a later post.