Tuesday, July 14, 2015

All the Jellybeans,, or: it must be PCT time again

I dragged the Costco container of Jelly Bellys out from where I had hidden them from my husband. (Ha. Ha). My resupply boxes, without their customary tortillas and hummus, looked frighteningly small. Only this much food for 4 days? More jellybeans! More jellybeans!

Yes, it is panic packing once again. On the 20th. Flash and I embark on our next Pacific Crest Trail section hike, from I-80 (Donner Pass) to Tuolumne Meadows. In order to complete the 215 miles by our deadline, we must hike 18 mile days for eleven days. Which, for us, should not be hard, but it always sounds impossible before the hike begins. In reality we usually end up with more miles than that, but this time there are lakes! And it will be warm (maybe. It was snowing on Carson Pass a week ago).

I'm doing a drastic change in food for this section. Because we rarely have sit down lunches when we hike together, but eat on the move, I've ditched the food that needs preppinig and opted instead for Babybel cheese, jerky, trail mix and dried fruit, plus of course, jellybeans. It's a challenge to balance the need to eat healthily with the kind of fuel that will propel you up mountains for hours at a time. Hike ten miles a day? You can get away with kale. Eighteen to twenty-five? Not so much. I still recall flagging at the eighteen mile mark once last spring while Flash, fueled by jellybeans, marched along strongly.

As far as other gear, we aren't sharing a tent this time. It worked on our last section, but we realized that we have different camp styles. Unless it's raining or there are hordes of mosquitoes, I like to flop onto a rock and contemplate the scenery for a few minutes, while Flash likes to get the tent set up and organized right away. Hiking with partners is all about compromise and learning what works well for everyone. When we roll into Yosemite this year, we will have hiked over six hundred miles together. And I will have hiked a bit over a thousand miles of the PCT!

Logistically, this has been a really challenging section to plan. We have to fly with our backpacks, which posed many interesting discussions. Do we a. mail ourselves a box to the starting point, and then one to the ending point with extra clothes, because, other airline passengers? or b. check our backpacks and hope for the best, or c. do a hybrid strategy? In the end, Flash is confident she can separate her gear into two carryons and is checking her trekking poles (because, weapons?) and I am going to swath my pack in one of those big plastic airline bags and pray to the TSA gods that it all works out. We are both mailing ourselves a bag to the end. If all else fails, there is an REI in Reno.

It's been a really busy year of travel for me. Between work and family visits I have flown at least once every month since October and sometimes twice. I am currently on the road, thus no pictures. i get back the 15th and leave again the 18th. It'll be good to get on the trail and leave all this other stuff behind.

12 comments:

  1. Another wonderful trip! I'm jealous of all your PCT hiking. I hope to hike a section of it myself later this year, if my foot finally cooperates. Good luck and can't wait to hear all about your latest adventure!

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    1. I'm going to try to hike part of Oregon in Sept, work permitting.

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  2. Didn't know you were heading out PCT so soon. Will be following you on maps and in my thoughts. Stay safe, have a wonderful time, overcome all obstacles and see more beautiful places.

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    1. It's pretty soon but haven't had a lot of time to think about it!

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  3. I think your trail name should be Jellybean instead of Monkey Bars. Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious time!

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    1. Jelly bean is good. But nobody is called Monkey Bars!

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    2. Oops. Was thinking that was yours in some distant, snow-covered past. Sorry.

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  4. I don't really like to stop for lunch on backpacking trips either. Let me stuff handheld food in my face and I'm good to go. I really like to eat on endless climbs, it helps distract from how slow and hard it is. :) My thing is gummy bears.

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    1. 0oh gummy bears. Hmm...it's hard for me to eat much while climbing and still breathe, but those might work.

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  5. Go get em'! After I finished my Tuolumne south section, I drove Sonora Pass to the north and it is indeed beautiful. I've done the Tahoe section and it too was amazing. Hopefully this crazy weather will have settled by the time you get here. The lightning and hail storms were really disruptive to my rhythm and made getting my miles difficult.

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    1. We're good with storms--had plenty of them on my JMT hike in 2012 and plenty in WA! Bring it! Just kidding!!! But the snowpack was only 6% of normal in the Sierra, so I think it's good!

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