Gearing up for the PCT takes, well, effort. Now I see how and why people become obsessed with gear research. There are so many options and it’s all like a personal thing what you choose. You read one persons gear list and think, cool that seems reasonable, then you tally up the cost yea, no. Check out another gear list great that financially doable, but wait can I really get my base weight down to 8lbs? (base weight gear without food or water) Let’s face it I have never been a shopper, heck I just bought new trail runners I haven’t bought news in 7 years!! So I suppose I should get quality gear, it’s gonna have to last.
I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around what my food and resupply planning will be like. This task may well be the biggest I have ever taken on. Been reading so many blogs lately of people that have gotten off the trail for many reasons; from lack of money, training and just motivation. Makes me want to be that much more prepared. I really have to use these nine months to get REALLY ready. All the while reminding myself that what will be will be.
That being said, I just finished reading the Anish article in Backpacker! Wow, just wow. She did 44 mile days (and broke the PCT speed record 60 days and 17 hours and 12 minutes), that is just mad crazy. What a great story about not stopping, giving up and following through.
Hope everyone is having a great 4th of July weekend! I decided at the last minute to…..go hiking, surprise! Well when I checked online all the camp sites were reserved, but Friday morning I called and they guy says “well we have a few that are first come first served.” Ok then I say I’m on my way, so I hopped in the car and headed over to Mt. Laguna. Now what he failed to mention was it was a cash only camp site, agh. (there is not a single ATM on the mountain, can-not-believe) So I had to run back down to Pine Valley for cash. The whole while people are passing me going up the mountain. I’m kinda freaking out because I’m thinking there will not be a single site when I get back. But a little fancy driving (read:speeding)I made it back and yeah got one of the last 2!!
After quickly setting up my tent I grabbed my day pack and trekked back to pay my camp fee. (again they should mention you will need your license plate number, whatever I just wrote gray cube and shoved it the box, seriously). I couldn’t figure out the ‘back way’ to get to the trail so I just started walking down the road. Glad I did, ended up stopping at Laguna Mountain Sports & Supply. What was right there when I opened the door….my ULA backpack! It was a sign!!!
Working there (on the 4th no less) was Dave, great guy. He sized me up and got me fitted with the right belt. It is so awesome (wish it were pink but purple will do), man it feels like a day pack compared to my other one. I went with the ULA Circuit, wanted the CDT but base weight is a concern. On the upside it came with all the stuff hand grips, loops for my poles, straps (lot of straps) for my bottles.
I’ll be going back to Laguna Mountain Sports & Supply they have all the stuff and then some. Plus Dave said he would do a shakedown (basically where he goes through my stuff and cut unnecessary weight).
Anywho, through my day pack in my new backpack and hit the trail. I headed north on the PCT for about 7 miles then headed back. Found the ‘backway’ into my campsite had few beers and watched the kiddos play. Man kids love camping.
The next morning I tossed all my stuff in the car then headed out on the trail again, this time south. Got in 8 miles! What a great area to hike in, the views a awesome! At one point everything was just right, I was feeling good, high energy, music was flowing….and I thought man I could hike for hours like this! That’s a good feeling!
Recently I had a lady ask me if I was scared to camp alone. Not really. That is probably the least of my fears. This isn’t my first rodeo, just my first time in this arena. Once I did a solo self-contained bike ride from Des Moines to St. Louis. There was a lot of heat, hills, solitude and stealth camping by myself.
Actually the biking that I used to do and backpacking are sorta kinda similar. When I first started biking RAGBRAI I had my road bike with on little bag on it; my overnight things were carried on a bus. Then I became a bagger added a basket/bags to my bike and started hauling my overnight stuff. So much easier to haul 40 pounds on your bike than on your back!
So I have been researching ultra light gear. There are SO many choices, SO many reviews. My wish list is below(subject to change once I read another review). Only thing I’ve settled on is a Thermarest Z-Lite pad and Black Diamond poles. Usually
I camp without a pad, I know, gasp! Just how I roll, however for a 5 months I better go with a pad. I’ve been using my ski poles to hike with up to now to see if I really liked using poles. Answer: yes. I hope to narrow down my choice of a sleeping bag and tent by July, then onto the pack! Once I have my pack it’s on!!!
In the meantime, my mother is coming for a visit. Not sure if I should even mention this whole PCT deal. She was not at all happy about my solo bike trip. Maybe I should keep it on the down low for now.
Wish List (short list)
Shoes -Brooks Cascadias
Sleeping Bag -Kelty Cosmic Down 20F
Backpack -ULA Circuit
Tent – Tarptent Double Rainbow
Headlamp – Mammut S Lite
Sierra Designs DriDown Cloud Puffy
Gaiters – Dirty Girl
*Trekking Poles Black Diamond
*Sleeping Pad -Thermarest Z Lite