Wednesday, May 15, 2013

87 days until the PCT!

It's happening, peeps! Here is a little update.

Gear:

First, I am trying out some Brooks Cascadias. I have to laugh because in every endeavor, the cool kids wear the same stuff and long hikes are no different. Most thru-hikers wear these shoes. I was all set with my Merrells, but on my last backpack they sort of tore up my feet, so this is an option. I will decide after a few backpack trips this summer. These are my target socks also, unless I go with the Ininji option.



I'm still fiddling with backpack and sleeping quilt options but the rest of my gear is pretty much set. Maybe I should have started up a Kickstarter campaign? I've spent more money on gear lately than groceries. Speaking of which...

Food:

My friend surprised me with a gift for the trail. Check it out! It's powdered chocolate and peanut butter!!! I haven't tried it yet, but with my two favorite things in it, how could it be bad?

What I won't be carrying? Protein bars, the sight of which still make me want to vomit. No Goldfish. No cereal. What I will be carrying: Yogurt-covered pretzels, which taste horrible in real life but great on the trail. Snickers, same thing. Tortillas, tuna, peanut butter. And peanut butter/chocolate powder!


Training:
I have seen people crash and burn on long hikes and it's because they haven't done the work, boots (shoes) on the ground.  I've been doing some long day hikes and backpacking trips so I don't collapse in a heap on Day 1.
My neighbor said I "looked really young" like this. Does she mean I look old in real life?! Ugh!

Company: 

The group keeps shifting in size. Right now we may have four people for the first 74 miles, maybe 3 after that to Stehekin, and the two amigos for the last. As I've mentioned, the right people can make or break a hike like this. Nobody wants to slog along miserably for three hundred miles with incompatible people. I don't think that will be the case with this group. I just need to keep my crazy under control (No, my trail name will not be Races Out of Camp or Crankypants. At least, I hope not!) because I am so used to solo travel and doing what I feel like doing at all times. Compromise. I do plan on a few early morning solo hikes, though, and meeting up with the group later. Solo hiking = Novels written, life decisions made.


Planning: 

When we know when people will leave and get on the trail, we can nail down our resupply. So far it looks like two: Stehekin (a 100 mile food carry) and Stevens Pass (a 74 mile food carry). Brutal! Hopefully we can yogi* some food from day hikers if we need it. 

Ever planned an adventure this far ahead? What would you carry for food if you were me? Anyone ever hiked in Cascadias?


*Yogi: lingering shamelessly and looking hungry while others are eating. I honed this to perfection as a wilderness ranger when I was always on the edge of starvation. Hope I can remember how to do it.



15 comments:

  1. The problem with snickers, or any candy bar, is that if it gets hot they start to melt and become a big mess. I've found that M&Ms make a better chocolate delivery system on hot days.

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    1. Good point. my snickers worked great on the JMT, but we only had ten hot days. it may be different this year.

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  2. As in "Yogi" Bear hungry look? I cannot imagine what powdered chocolate and peanut butter would taste like, but I hope it's good!

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  3. I've been in the Cascadias since I began trail running, I think I've had five pairs. They work wonderfully for me. I use the worn out ones for easy hiking.

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    1. Good to know! Im excited to try them.

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  4. The Cascadias are good shoes. I used them in RTP Nepal, which was effectively a week-long backpacking trip with my 27-pound pack. However, when it comes to avoiding blisters, I subscribe to the Andrew Skurka School that it's less about shoes and more about keeping your feet dry. Sometimes an impossibility in the PNW, but wicking socks and an anti-chafing ointment (I like stuff called Sportslick, Body Glide works too) can go a long way. I think wool socks are the devil. Just my personal experience; obviously lots of people love them.

    Also — cookies instead of candy bars. Similar sweetness and calorie density, but they won't turn to sludge in the heat. Those 2-packs of Grandma's cookies have something like 440 calories.

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    1. Deleted due to bad spelling below. what brand of socks do you wear, Jill?

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  5. Drymax socks are the only socks I'll wear for hiking or running any more. They're expensive but amazing. Even if I run through streams, they seem to hold the water away from my skin and dry out quickly. And they're quite robust, too. I have a few pairs that I've used regularly for more than two years and none have holes yet.

    I've tried Injinji socks and always got blisters in places I otherwise never get blisters, like the bottom of my toes. Plus they wear out quickly. Some people swear by the toe socks, but my experience was the opposite; I'd rather wear anything else. It's worth testing them extensively before committing to a long hike with them.

    Snickers Bars hold up reasonably well in hot weather. Many others are less robust. I mostly gave up on summertime candy bar fuel after the Tour Divide, when I had to choke down a few bars that had melted and re-hardened and melted and re-hardened until they were chalky and terrible.

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    1. Hmmm, drymax. I will try them. my wool socks always work well, but do take time to dry.

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  6. I carry Probar whole food bars. They come in a great array of flavors and are really clean (as in organic ingredients and no junk). I picked up some of their newer quick energy bites for this coming season but haven't tried them yet.
    Last summer I got the Salewa Alp trainer (which indeed promises no blisters) and I've never been happier with a hiking shoe, Ever!
    When I'm looking for new gear I spend a lot of time at Backpacker.com going through their Gear Guide and testing results. The Salewa's were a bit hard to find, but I did find them online and I wore them straight out of the box on a gnarly adventure with an overweight pack (spotting scope, tripod, radio, gear for 3 days) to go survey for Bighorn Sheep. I'll spare you the gory details, but these shoes saved my bacon bigtime, and they were (and are) SO comfortable! I have never gotten a blister with them and I really like how they grip.

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    1. Never heard of those shoes. will my husband kill me if I bring home another shoe?

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  7. LOL! It sounds like you bring home shoes like lost puppies. If you'll always wear them for "something" then I figure you can't go wrong. Or if you can send them back. Fortunately my husband is a shoe-horse, plus he has hiked with me when I've been wearing shoes that don't work (to which he tells me GET RID OF THOSE SHOES) so he's happy for me to get shoes that work. Of course, if he brought home Another fly rod, I might not be well-pleased.....

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  8. I have worn the same Cascadias for the last two backpacking seasons. They're ready to be replaced, but I was pretty pleased with them. (The shoe laces are hands down the brightest I've ever had, including shoes as a child.) My favorite shoe was a Montrail Mountain Masochist, but they only lasted a season (though a very rough and heavy mileage season).

    After many, many different socks, I stick to my favorite bicycling socks by DeFeet or Bike Guy or Drymax. (you should get these: http://familybicycles-kc.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/awesome.jpg).

    I liked Injinji the first time I wore them (sooooo soft) but they fall apart really quickly and are hard to clean/dry. I also found that don't keep your feet warm in cold weather (gloves vs. mittens principle).

    I've walked in a lot of Darn Tough's, which they are. They are also warm. They take forever to dry and don't breathe very well, however.

    My favorite thing to snack on was a custom trail mix that included sweet, salty, unami flavors. Chex Mix was the base. I added seaweed rice crackers, wasabi peas, Skittles, M&Ms, assorted Jelly Bellies, peanut butter filled pretzels, Cheerios, dried fruit, and assorted nuts. That gave me a huge variety to choose from and it was easy to package. The Skittles were the secret sauce.

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  9. That trail mix sounds really good, Allison!

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