Post-analysis of my aborted PCT hike

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Post-analysis of my aborted PCT hike

Post by kvetch » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:44 pm

As those of you who were following my previous trip thread know, I recently made an aborted thru hike attempt of the Pacific Crest Trail. For those who want to wade through all my recently posted journals, go here: ... 29&start=0
For the rest of you, here it is in a nutshell: This was to be my last great adventure/bug out practice/training run before (my personal feeling) the SHTF this winter. I had started 4/16 and made the 558 miles to Tehachapi Springs Road by 5/23 when my hip went out and has taken me off trail for the rest of the season. The full story behind this hike is posted elsewhere, so lets get down to the lessons learned from this little jaunt.

1. If all you ever know is success, you won't know jack. I learned 10x more on this trip from being repeatedly beaten into the ground then if I had finished with flying colors.
2. Success never prepares you for failure. Plenty of the big, strong, tough guys dropped out in the first hundred miles, the ones who thought they could tough out anything. The ones who kept on going were the little scrappers who learned quick to roll with Ma Nature's punches.
3. Don't work beyond your limits and try to make that the new norm. A person can do anything they have to if it's not for too long, but all the determination in the world won't make a failing body go on forever. Get ego out of the way and know when to lighten up or quit, as the alternative can be exceedingly painful and full of suck.
4. When it comes to pack weight, yeah, the ounces DO matter! Don't carry anything you don't have to! The one exception is the personal item; if it's crucial for moral, damn the weight penalty. I never used my field knife and it never came out of my pack, but I would have fought tooth and nail anyone who told me to send it home.
5. The only things that really matter: calories, water, sleep, thermoregulation and moral. If you can keep watered, rested, warm/cool and maintain a positive mental attitude things will be golden.
6. It's never the big things that get you, it's always the little things. Appetite fatigue, blisters and bugs were my bane through the entire hike. Wild animal attacks, falling off cliffs, exposure and escaped convicts never worried me.
7. When planning and wisdom fail, one can always fall back on mule headed stubbornness and blind faith to see you through.

Hiking SoCal was easily the hardest thing I've ever done. The sheer amount of suck that the desert holds, even for the experienced, is epic in scale. Nearly everything that could go wrong, did. Blisters, bugs, chafing everywhere, navigational failures, too many supplies, not enough supplies, bad footwear, near mental breakdowns, hypothermia, hyperthermia, inadequate clothing, crappy shelter, etc, etc, etc. The main point is I'm damn glad I got all this sorted out now rather when push comes to shove. Some immediate results are that walking 5-10 miles isn't such a big deal anymore and my INCH bag has shed about 20lbs. I'm more patient and humble then I used to be, also slightly less willing to take stupid risks.
Fortunately, finishing the trail was nothing more then a tactical objective, another feather in my cap. The strategic objectives of learning to cover long distances by foot, some practical application of my wilderness survival training and physical/mental preparation have all been met. I'm not too happy about the final outcome, of course, but we get what we need and not what we want.
Hippie (hip'e) noun. Unwashed, organic Zack snacks.

Transparatus, Veritas.

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Re: Post-analysis of my aborted PCT hike

Post by Boondock » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:03 pm

Great stuff. Thanks for sharing.

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