Friday, April 1, 2016

Stakes on a Plane! And other Adventure Preparing Rituals..

A hiking friend emailed me, saying that she was about to go on an untried route, with someone she had never met, in a hiking outfit she had never worn before. I laughed and then thought...Wait...I am about to do the same thing! In less than a week I will be toeing the PCT at mile 110, ready to take on the next chunk, about 100 miles to Interstate 10. It's a challenging route because there is a fire closure, which a lot of people hitchhike around but which I refuse to, for stubborn reasons. There are a few alternates but not a lot of information about them. I am wearing a prototype hiking skirt that I got for free (!) to test out. I am also meeting up with M, a hiker I have never met, but have corresponded with for a few months. Luckily, we have hashed out our expectations beforehand. We plan to camp at the same spots and do some of the harder sections together (the icy ridge at 10,000 feet, the fire reroute, the early morning dash to get water from a place that seems a little sketch) and may hike some, or a lot, or all of the rest together. It will be good to hear some new stories!


We'll probably take the yellow alternate.

Does anyone else panic pack? I am a victim of this practice. I also email Flash repeatedly since her husband works for the TSA. "Ask D!!!" I type, with many exclamation points. "Trekking poles on a plane? Tent poles on a plane? Stakes on a plane?!!!!"

Which brings me to the ritual weighing of the backpack. I stand on the scale, look at my weight, hope that this hike will take off a few pounds, and then try on the pack. Only I can't do that this time because I've sent all the stuff I mentioned away. It's probably better to remain in blissful ignorance, right?

Other rituals? Obsessively check weather. Rain pants in, rain pants out. Ballcap in, sun hat? Dorkiness or sun protection? Clean the house in the fruitless hope it will remain so. Spend a lot of time with the kitties. Briefly ponder if you could hike the trail with a cat. Write a lot on the new book. Work many, many hours to make up for the time I will be gone. Eat a lot, because you will lose weight. Right? 

Then I realize: this is not a trip to the Sahara. It's just a backpacking trip. It will all be okay, even if I forget a spoon and have to carve one, even if it's too icy to tackle Fuller Ridge and we have to roadwalk, even if it's hot/cold/windy. I can handle all those things. Let the adventure begin (well, in seven days that is).

Do you have trip rituals? Have you ever forgotten a spoon? What's the most important thing you have forgotten? (If you read this blog you know my list is long, and includes a rainfly during a thunderstorm, a crucial tent pole, the camp stove, a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag).





10 comments:

  1. Mary your return to the PCT seems to have come round quickly. Is it earlier this year? Am so looking forward to reading your blog on your return. Have a fabulous time.

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    1. I've started doing a short spring hike and a longer summer one. Hard to pull off with limited vacation time, but necessary.

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  2. I thought I was in for a disaster once when I realized I brought two left footed toe socks. Thankfully I had a quick thinking friend who said turn one inside out. It worked, disaster averted!

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    1. Oh, I never would have thought of that. Once I brought two different shoes, but luckily they were a right and a left!

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  3. I forgot the stove once. There have been a few muddy or winter snow trip that I forgot my gaiters, those were doable but a lot messier.

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    1. I have also forgotten gaiters. And had very snowy feet.

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  4. I didn't realize your hike was right around the corner!!! Happy trails! And good luck with all the question marks.

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    1. Thanks. At some point you just have to go with it. As you know.

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  5. I am excited for your adventure and looking forward to reading all about it. Hope there will be photos too for us to admire. Have a fabulous time!

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    1. Of course photos! Been planning this a long time and it's finally here!

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