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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 11:23 pm 
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It's a bit soon, I know, but I won't have the opportunity to send out another update for a while. I'm kicking back for a bit in lovely scenic Tehachapi, jewel of the desert..... if you believe that there's some nice beachfront property here for you. It's a really dismal place but the last stop before the weeklong push out of SoCal and into the Sierras. My feet are much better, no blisters anymore but I want to give them every chance before I start cranking out 25 mile nights.

This is the best section of the trail to get injured in actually. The Acton KOA, the Saufleys at Hiker Heaven, the Andersons at Casa De Luna, Hikertown and Tehachapi are all a day or so from each other. I would have been here sooner but Mama Saufley held me prisoner for an extra day due to the foot issue. Ok, it was a little infected but has responded to aggressive treatment and isn't an issue anymore. All these people put their lives on hold during hiker season for us, I'll have to return and give back someday.

I really hate LA, more so then ever now. For 30 miles of the Mohave desert we follow the LA aqueduct and can't get at all the water we hear under our feet. Fortunately there were thunderstorms all that day so the temps stayed a humid 70 degrees.

1/5 of the way to Canada!
Mall Ninja, when did you do your thru-hike? What was your trail name if you want to share it?

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 10:48 am 
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Congrats on the beginning of your journey, may it be safe and filled with wonder.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 2:13 pm 
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kvetch wrote:
It's a bit soon, I know, but I won't have the opportunity to send out another update for a while. I'm kicking back for a bit in lovely scenic Tehachapi, jewel of the desert.....


If you think Tehachapi is bad, be glad you didn't choose Mojave instead.

kvetch wrote:
Mall Ninja, when did you do your thru-hike? What was your trail name if you want to share it?


I've hiked the southern half of the trail multiple times (most recently in '07), but I've never completed a thru-hike :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:37 pm 
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No joy in Mudville here. I pulled a ligament in my right hip down near Tehachapi and have been off trail ever since. Caught a ride up to Kennedy Meadows on Memorial weekend and stayed there for about a week before coming home. I'll take as long as I need to heal up from this, but will be on the trail again as soon as possible.

Unfortunately a full thru-hike is out of the question for this year as I've missed too much time out of the season. The plan as it stands is to flip up to the Canadian border and do WA and OR Southbound late summer. I would like to do a hike of the JMT before that if time allows, but this hip will tell me when to leave. The balance of CA can wait for another season, maybe combined with the West coast loop bicycle tour I'm also planning.

It definitely sucks that this happened when I was literally in sight of getting to the good part. It's not a total waste though. I have the time and experience now to rethink my gear and supply boxes, not to mention my overly ambitious schedule. Total weight entering the Sierras would have been 45lbs with a 15lb base weight not counting that f***ing bear canister. Going into the North section I can get that down to 35lbs total.
Looking back over my journal, most injuries can be traced to a combination of overexertion and lack of proper stretching. Dialing things back to 20-25mi/day, regular limbering up and a lighter kit should make things much smoother.
Working on a geo-political as well as a seasonal timeframe does make things more difficult. This new plan will hopefully prove a faster means of getting home should the SHTF while I'm on trail.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 7:17 pm 
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Sorry to hear you pulled a ligament and didn't get to finish your hike. There is always another time though. The trail will be there when you have healed and it sounds like your already making a plan for doing some of the trail after the healing. WA and OR will be a great trek that I am sure you will enjoy.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 8:05 pm 
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That's a bummer. It sounds like it was a great trip while it lasted. Thanks for bringing us along.


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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:22 pm 
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Oh man, that's too bad. Since a straight thru-hike is out, another possibility, once your hip is better, is skipping up to Ashland and going north from there. The Oregon PCT is relatively flat (compared to Washington or California) and I think you would be less likely to re-injure yourself than if you started at the Canadian border and hiked south.

At least you got to spend a month or so hiking. Time spent out on the trail is never wasted.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:30 pm 
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Came late to this thread, only to catch up and learn of your injuries. I'm very sorry to read that but I'm sure you are chalking it up to experience.

I've always been a big fan of http://www.backpackinglight.com

There is a website called Trail Journals where people post about their gear and make periodic posts while hiking the AT, PCT and JMT. http://www.trailjournals.com

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:55 pm 
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I'm actually quite flattered that so many people are following this thread. Never had a fan club before...

Oh, there's no question that I'll be back on trail for as much of the season as I can manage. Where and when are up in the air, maybe some of you can lend ideas on that.
OR/WA Northbound may be easier out of the gate, but going Southbound will avoid any early storms in N. Cascades and keep me closer to home. NorCal will be dicey that late in the season with an El Nino winter coming on and the winged blood suckers in central OR "should" be mostly dead by the time I get there.
If the JMT happens it will be done Southbound, from Tuolumne Meadows all the way through to Kennedy Meadows. From there it will be simple to hitch up Hwy 395 to some friends in Reno and catch the Amtrak to wherever.

The best laid plans, however... Nothing is final until I leave again. In the meantime I've been tearing through my INCH bag and chopping fat off that monster like crazy. Whooha!
I've actually avoided reading anyone else's trail journals, there were some things I didn't want to spoil.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:50 pm 
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All my journals have been transcribed long since, it's just taken me this long to get up the nerve to post them. Here goes....

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:57 pm 
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4/16-17 Wed/Thurs: This is the first chance I've had in the last few days to stop and rest. Wednesday was a blur. I took care of the last minute details and was picked up by Guy at 13:30. We hung around the Santa Rosa Greyhound station for a bit until he had to leave. It gave him time to vent on the state of the Craft and other matters. The 15:00 bus was an hour late. We changed in Oakland and LA with one break in Modesto for a total travel time of 14 hours. No security at those stations BTW, just a rent a cop with a wand. EVERYTHING hurts now and I can definitely still feel my ass.
Trail Angel Girlscout picked me up at the station at 6:00. We then picked up 2 girls from his house and 2 guys from another place. It was a clown car affair with 5 hikers plus packs, so I got out at a store near Campo so Scout could deliver them to the Border. [Subway: $5.40] We then reconvened and went up to Warner Springs (109) to drop me off and pick up someone else. NTS: Look up the “desert trail”, it borders the PCT but only through deserts; less then 5 people have done it. Got there at 9:30 into classic high desert, filled my bottles and set out. Pack weight: 40lbs. Rested at some rocks only 2 miles in due to midday heat. The poison oak and oak trees felt like Marin county. Weather is in the 80s with overcast and a breeze. Made it to Barrel Springs (101) which was actually a cattle trough and am sharing the camp with 8 others. The day was a pure shakedown; with 2hr navigational mishaps, yucca spines in the legs, blister prevention, somehow losing all the water in my bladder without the pack getting wet, etc. First day down, thanking God now.

4/18 Fri: Set out at 3:00 and reached the 3rd Gate cache around 10:00 (91). Same weather, but seeing increasing numbers of NoBos. Heard that Thru Hiker applications have doubled from last year. SoCal is going to be crowded till The Herd spreads/thins out. Aching in all the usual places, but no blisters. My right shin is on fire from that yucca spine. Some swelling, no infection. Despite that, I'm already feeling better then I have in a long time. Took my first dump on the PCT, it was GLORIOUS! Lost the water out of my bladder again. Must be a small leak somewhere, when I carried it the rear pouch with no compression there was no problem. Got hit by a thunderstorm up on the ridgeline this afternoon. Had seen it coming so I was fully prepared, but the winds kept shifting and held it over me for an hour. Camped in a river wash at mile 87. Shared a camp and dinner with Steve, an engineer from Corvallis. Visited until nightfall.

4/19 Sat: Started at 4:00 and and reached Scissors Crossing cache (77) by 9:30. Its been nothing but exposed chaparral covered switchbacks the entire way, culminating in a kneebusting descent to Hwy 58. Rock Ocean, the resident trail angel, gave some of us a ride into Julian [$5]. Mom's Bakery gives free lunches to hikers: sandwich, soup, pie and ice cream. Bought some munchies at the store there [$7]. Hung out under the overpass with some very trashy hiker trash till 14:00 when the clouds moved in. It is true you can get anything on the trail. Just today I've been offered pot twice, booze 3 times, cigs and a suspicious looking half snickers bar. Made the mistake of crossing an exposed 3 mile plain in the sun. That was the last straw. I'm camped in a rocky crag on the cliffside of the next range over, out of the wind. Dealing with dehydration, exposure, fatigue, headache, low blood sugar. Have been finding it hard to eat enough to replace the lost calories and just hit the wall. On the upside I got some Bodyglide from a passing hiker to fight a serious case of crotch chafe. This may be the first hump.

4/20 Sun: Got started at 5:00. By the time I reached the Rodriguez fire tank (68) at 8:30 it was already 80*. After 1k” elevation gain in 5 miles, I'm calling it till afternoon. Apache and Blue Butterfly joined me in a bit. This is the 2nd time on the trail for both of them. We've been pacing each other since Scissors and Barrel Springs respectively. It was a good time resting under my shade tarp, visiting with passing hikers, munching and hydrating. There is a metric shitton of weed on this trail. Look in any hiker's pack and you'll find: snickers bars, joints, cigs, whisky, or all of the above. Left around 14:30 and made good time to the next ridgecrest over; the 2 mile, 1k” climb not withstanding. Reached the top and decided no further. Camped in a flat turnout on the side of an access road.

4/21 Mon: Lost most of the morning taking a wrong turn down down a jeep road for 3 miles. NTS: If there are tire tracks, it's not the trail! Made it back up and to the Sunrise Trailhead cache (59) by 10:00. Bathed and did laundry in the horse tank there, which didn't help the water quality. Headed out at 11:30 to make up some miles and found myself moving from cover to cover. This entire section is exposed, but but the trail is an easy traverse. Finally bushwhacked up to a bomber overhang and waited, tending to my first real blister. Finally met Dan and Tara, the Canadian couple I was supposed to start with but who decided at the last minute to go the trad route. It's for the best perhaps; they seem friendly but quite yuppiesh. Got to the Pioneer Mail picnic area (52) around sundown and found a hiker feast in progress. A 2 time PCTer named Storytime has gone trail angel this year and brought a car full of junk, soda and beer for our gorging pleasure. We and a dozen others stayed up till dark swapping BS and trail lore. Apparently there's some breaking point in 2 months or so when everyone gets super horny and “hiker mating season” starts. All that's missing now is rock n roll.

4/22 Tues: Pushed hard and made Mt. Laguna (53) by 10:00 in the face of 70-80mph winds on the side of a 2500” dropoff. Bought some supplies at the store [$41.20] and pigged out on Hot Pockets and ice cream on the porch while chatting with some trail vets. Called home, doctored my feet and set out.
Stopped by the outfitter for a 2L Platy bottle and a hiker umbrella [$56.93]. If there was any more gear crammed into that store the roof would pop off. Left my first alpine zone of the trail, followed by a steady drop to Long Canyon Creek (38). Cold, strong winds continue. Was passed by Bear Bait and Jackalope who had started in Laguna, at 6 years the youngest trail angel and his mother. It's quite cold in this canyon.

4/23 Wed: Got up early and shivering. Pushed hard all day and made it to Boulder Oaks campground (26) by 10:00. 12 miles of straight downhill, mostly rocky, with no cover and the same pinky toe sprained five times. My feet hate me and these 5-fingers are destroyed. The temps were reasonable, so I pushed on to Lake Morena (20) reaching it around 17:00. The young crowd here is loud and mostly crude. I hung out with several old AT vets, listening to stories, including the famous Billy Goat. He has 44k trail miles under his shoes and in his 70s still does the trail every year. He's out this year from a triple bypass though. Trail culture on the AT has gone to hell so I hear. What's considered “normal” behavior is so entitled and disrespectful that I won't record it. I'm stuck for the night in the free camping zone near the fires and last I looked there was a lot of beer left, so it may be noisy late. NTS: Check The Cabin hostel in Hanover, Maine run by Honey and Bear.

4/24 Thurs: It froze last night. Got up at 6:00 and hobnobbed with the staff till some of us went to breakfast at the local deli market. The breakfast burrito is fully worthy [$7.49]. Like most unconventional people, thru hikers tend towards Libertarian perspectives. Had time to break down, sort and clean my gear before volunteering all afternoon. Mostly shlepping chairs, tables, etc. Tore my finger up unloading a wash station for the port-o-potties. Took a laundry bath in the showers; ie: a shower with clothes on. I'm now in solid with the staff for my efforts, it's exciting to meet all the people like Yogi and Billy Goat that I've only heard of till now. Registration started at 16:00 and it's been a mad house since. The young crowd is loud and crude, with new gear, pregrown beards and big attitudes. Most of them won't last. I stand corrected on the AT comments from yesterday; the yellow blazers get weeded out early there too. Compared with the amount of trail magic and Angeling, it's a drop in the bucket.
Honey and Bear threw an enormous pasta feed, so I gave back by making their campfire and entertaining with a borrowed carbon fiber guitar. In sadder news, the trail claimed it's first victim today. A 19y/o kid died of heat stroke on the last climb up to the lake from the border. Respect the desert.

4/25 Fri: Most of the day was spent on chores: trail and water reports, vendors booths, tracking down gear details [$5]. Got my pack shaken down by Team Wolverine and shed 5lbs, mostly extra layers and stuff sacks that got mailed home [$27]. That was negated by Girlscout bringing up my first resupply package.
The idiots who crashed into my assigned campsite at 22:00 last night turned out to be the Andersons of Casa de Luna. I don't like them already. Not only and they outrageously redneck, bringing all their own booze and pot, all their groupies have moved in too. Dinner was burritos followed by a short film festival on a big Tyvek screen. Some were good, some bad, some stupid, all had trail spirit. This despite winds and the threat of rain, which has me camped out under the picnic table.

4/26 Sat: It rained hard last night. I had my tarp wrapped around the table to make a cave of sorts, which worked about 90% of the time. The other 10% had me waking up in a puddle after a long, cold night. I had already stripped my gear for a slack-pack run from the border, so Backtrack gave me a lift to the Southern terminus. It's not as impressive as in the pictures, rather ratty and rotted actually. The rain was still heavy until we got there, but turned to showers which lasted all morning. Signed the register, took some pics, banged the fence and took off. The overcast negated e need for a midday break, so I covered the 20 miles in 9 hours. The beer and whiskey literally flew when I marched into cap, But I shoved the well wishers aside and made for the dinner tables laden with cheeseburgers, brownies and someone's birthday cake.
Left the Anderson's camp, which had become party central, and moved in with M80, Trooper and Willow; a husband, wife and dog trio I had hiked with most of the day. They're all AT vets and had just come off the Florida trail, but were new to the desert and listened to my experience. The feature movie was very well done and inspiring, a professional job. It's overcast and very cold; I'm regretting already sending so many layers home. Tomorrow 500 hikers will set out from camp, with another 200 or so starting from points further North. I predict half of them won't see the Sierras.

4/27 Sun: It was a clod, slow start. Got breakfast, said my goodbyes packed up and found a ride back up to Warner Springs. With a detour into Julian for some more free pie of course [$1]. Hung around the WS rec center eating, washing up, writing home, etc. Traded some medical with an RN named Bipolar, a hiker/angel who paces the heard and doctors them up. Turns out all the hiker services at the rec center were set up by the local high school! Had to dump my 5-Fingers in the hiker box because the toes had worn through.
Started out at 15:00 trying to make miles, but the only results of haste have been hot spots and minor MS injuries. I need to average 20 miles/day to reach Big Bear Lake on time, but without damaging myself. My pack is also still too heavy, with a food bag taking up 2/3 of it and a water load that needs to be distributed better. Loosened the shoulder straps after finding major chafing there, which has helped a lot. Made camp early after a can-o-SPAM dinner. Must remember speed, not haste...and enjoy the ride.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:59 pm 
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4/28 Mon: Made good time getting out of camp (115) and made it to trail angel Mike's Place (127) around 10:00. A little homestead shack with a nice porch and no stay limit. Been pacing several younger people throughout the day. They get up after dawn and hike through midday to make time. My umbrella is extending my hiking hours, but I still need to rest. They won't make it long before the desert burns them up at this rate.
Pushed on to Tule Spring (137) despite increasing foot problems. No major blisters so far but plenty of hot spots, chafing and general wear. I may not be ready for this pace yet. Made camp on top of the water tank. Nothing but some mosquitoes, frogs and hummingbirds for company.

4/29 Tues: Got a very early start and pushed the 15 miles to the Paradise Valley Cafe (151) by noon, despite high winds. Pushed too fast, blisters and pack chafing are slowing me down. These shoulders aren't looking good, weeping blisters all. The cafe qualifies as a hole in the wall joint. The burgers were so good I had two; the waitress was a bit surprised when I asked for the menu back after my first. Waiting around now for a ride with a trail angel into Idyllwild. This hitch bypasses 20 miles of trail closed due to the Mountain Fire closure.
Got a ride after 3 minutes of hitching. A nice old chap who was going to work the evening shift at the cable plant in town. Hit up the drug store and market for supplies [$29.20] and finished just in time to carpool with trail angel Dave to the Humber Park trailhead. From there it's an uphill hike on the Devil's Slide trail to the PCT at Saddle Junction (179). The climb was slow from the elevation and fatigue, but it's good to be back in the trees. Goodbye Anzo-Borego, hello San Jacintos. A cold wind blows tonight.

4/30 Wed: Winds are the curse of this mountain. Couldn't sleep for it so I started an ascent at 1:00, reaching the peak just after dawn. It's very cold with old snow deep on the trail, my inadequate clothing lets the wind cut to the bone. The view from 10.8k” is spectacular though. Slept off a case of hypothermia in the shelter hut for the rest of the morning with no one but the mice for company.
Finally left the hut around noon. It cost time when I second guessed myself on the way down, backtracked and was set right by another hiker. The decent down the backside of the mountain is a maze of rock, blowdowns and old snow. My knees hate me. Pushed on to the Fuller Ridge trailhead (190) and found a place out of the wind with several other hikers.

5/1 Thurs: The entire morning was a 16 mile hell of neverending switchbacks; narrow, eroded, exposed and overgrown. Reached the base around 13:00 and tanked up at the very slow fountain before heading to some trail magic on the water report. The Snow Creek private community (206) has an angel who provides fruit, shade and water. Stayed till 16:00 then headed to Ziggy and Bear's place in Cabazon, finding more magic under the I-10 overpass. The trail was flat and mostly straight, but loose sand and hot. TANSTAAFL. Reached Z&B's by 18:00, a hiker hangout with every amenity. The perfect place to kick back and rest these dogs. Total elevation change in 2 days: 15k”.

5/2 Fri: Z&B are a Godsend. Slept in till dawn, a free breakfast, did laundry, showered, shook down my pack, did gear chores, ate/rested, etc. [$20 donation] The feet and shoulders are better, but one toe is now stubbed and bloody. Used someone's Vagisil for the rash, will see how that works out. Hikers I know have been cycling in and out all day, resting up for the heat wave this weekend. Temps were 105* in the shade and there have been several hiker SAR calls today. Many people are night hiking, myself included. After the free ice cream of course.

5/3 Sat: The going was good until I took a wrong turn down a cattle trail in the dark and entered the wrong canyon. The entire night was spent brush busting and scree scrambling to get out of it; but the time I realized my mistake it was too late to turn back. Only constant prayer and divine favor have kept me alive through the ascent, across the ridge and down the other side of the mountain. I rejoined the trail at mile 218 around 8:00, so it was a choice of backtracking 2 miles South to the Whitewater Nature Preserve and rest or continue North. Fuck it, party on! Got water at Whitewater Creek and pushed on to Mission Creek (226). A dozen or so other hikers I've been pacing were there already , resting up. I'm now dehydrated, hypoglycemic, fatigued and sleep deprived. Laying down in that creek felt like a baptism.
Left at 16:30 and headed upstream till dark, stopping about mile 235. It's as fine a desert night as one could wish for, but no night hiking. I have a misery in my bones and there's only two cures: drugs and sleep.
NTS: Bring mousetraps on the AT to use in the shelters and use AWOL's data guide.

5/4 Sun: Not the most difficult day so far, but the most painful. Kept up a good strong pace due to a runner's high, wasn't too hot and the trail was good. Made the Arrastre camp (256) at 20:00 with only two stops. First was at Mission Spring to eat and tank up for the 16 mile dry spell to come. Second was the Coon Creek cabin for a brief rest. Several mountain bikers asked our mission and got that “Oh God, I'm such a pansy” look. LOL. My feet are so beat I'm staggering. The knees and ankles are also bad, but the shoulders were temporarily fixed by only using one pole. Thank God for the Big Bear Lake hostel trail magic near Onyx peak. A sofa and dumpster full of junk food and soda was just what the doctor ordered.
NTS: Get a large Sawyer filter; better flow, less clogging, 10x the lifespan. Everyone with the Mini model is cursing them.

5/5 Mon: The last 10 miles to Hwy 18 (266) were a fast, easy downhill. Several of us hitchhiked into Big Bear Lake and checked into the Hiker Hostel. Right downtown with every amenity, $35 for 2 nights! Me and 3 guys I've been pacing went out for pizza and I killed a large in one sitting. [$20.70] Shower, laundry, a nap and some foot care later, I'm almost human again. My feet look like chew toys, but not so bad compared to some. There isn't a hiker here who isn't limping. Cracks, raw patches, blisters, chafing, sprains, strains, etc. Retrieved my box from the P.O. and found several letters from home in it, which was a nice touch. Whiled away the afternoon and then spent a lovely dinner at a steakhouse with Mermaid. A very interesting and open woman, turns out we're on the same page about “current world events”. Ham, steak and conversation kept us till 21:30. Today is Cinco de Mayo, so most people are out on the town tonight.

5/6 Tues: About 1:00 my bunkmate crashed in reeking so badly that I spent the rest of the night in the hallway. Got up early and studied my maps, then hit the town. Breakfast at Grizzly Bear cafe, shopping at Vons, subway for lunch, Big 5 for a pair of Crocs. Nowhere could I find tincture of Benzoine. Sent out a journal update from the library. Got back, sorted my food and bounced half of it up to Wrightwood. Between that and common room conversation it was dinnertime, so I investigated rumors of an 18” burrito next door. Not too shabby! Had a freak storm this afternoon that dumped 2” of powder, but it cleared quickly. Damage for the day: $89.19.

5/7 Wed: The same bunkmate situation occurred last night. Got up early and had breakfast at Teddy Bears [$10.75]. ++Good! The owner of the hostel gives rides to the trailhead, so I was on the move again by 9:00. The trail and weather were good, so I made Holcomb creek (285) by 18:00. Lessons learned: don't carry more food/water then you need, light shoes are crucial, a well balanced pack is better then a light pack. Used the Gators all day; tried the Keens for a few minutes and they were lead weights by comparison. No wonder I hurt so much trying to speed in them. Rearranged my reserve water from inside to bottles on the shoulder straps, centered the bladder in the brain, then readjusted the supports. Goodbye shoulder pain (mostly)! Cut the carry straps off the bottom of the pack and used them with some cordage and carabiners to mount the bottles. The feet are sore from flexible shoes, but a soak in the creek and some Vit I should fix that.
NTS: Don't leave dinner rehydrating in the jar for 4 days.

5/8 Thurs: Everything was frozen this morning. The trail was good and the weather turned perfist though. Made the Deep Creek bridge by noon and spent 2hrs of much needed rest there. The Crocs have boosted my speed by 1/2mph ad relived my aching knees but raised a whole new crop of blisters, open and closed. I hope I make it to town before the tape, glue and Vit I run out. There was a music video being filmed there as well, which was mildly amusing. The rest of the day was a painfest on the feet. The reward though was Deep Creek springs (307). A 2hr soak in a 104* natural hot tub does wonders. Met several hikers who had zeroed here and talked long with a local and fellow prepper (hotspringswizard blog). This is a high use area, so with smashed hikers BBQing on one side and tourists on the other, sleep may be difficult. Evidence the mental/spiritual reflects in the physical. My stride is faster and smoother when my head is in tune.

5/9 Fri: No one got off to an early start this morning. I moved out at 7:30 after a near miraculous recovery. Was flying at 3mph for most of the day. Sad to leave Deep Creek, it's the most beautiful place I've yet seen in SoCal. Started flagging by early afternoon and ran out of gas around 14:00. I had been moving so fast I hadn't bothered to eat much. Still, reached a picnic area on Lake Silverwood (327) by 16:30. It's just a boat pullout point, the actual campground being 2 miles up, but with toilets, covered tables and whole lake full of water the feet failed to go any further. No blisters, just fatigue from bll of the foot striking. No one around now but 6 hikers, 2 illegal fishermen, armies of ants and clouds of mosquitoes.

5/10 Sat: Pushed the 15 miles to Cahon Pass (342) as quick as I dared, making it by noon. The sight frhe ridge was something, in the morning the entire pass is socked in with fog. Got some munchies at the C-store by the trail infamous McDonalds, a hiker landmark, then went up the overpass and got 2 Subway sandwiches for the same price. Had to wait 2 hours for Mermaid to show up since our shared room at the Best Western here is in her name. Soaked in the hot tub, took a laundry shower, ate and generally hung around. I know nearly everyone in this hotel from somewhere along the trail. I'm not the only one getting hit hard by injuries at this point. Went to “dinner” with Raven and Salt 'n Pepper at a Mexican fast food place, got ice cream, then dipped my feet in the hot tub and Bsed with the boys (and girls) before turning in. The first pangs of hiker hunger are setting in now that I have no body fat left. When I need to eat it's right now, no more coasting. Total for the day: $71.03.

5/11 Sun: Between a late wakeup, packing, breakfast and the after breakfast nap, Mermaid and I got started around 11:00. The winds were high but the climb wasn't so bad, considering that the 5k” we lost getting down we now have to regain. Pushed on through the day and stopped for the night halfway to Wrightwood at jeep road 3N31. This was supposed to be a waterless stretch, but the caches en route made the 6L I started with unnecessary. Several others were here passing the pipe around, but pushed on to the next water at Guffy Camp. They don't need pain pills at least. A downside to Crocs: feet sweat, it doesn't go anywhere and forms mud in the shoe.
Did my mitsva for an evil deed earlier. In Julian I had hidden an umbrella that another hiker had bought and he's such a stoner that he forgot about it. Saw him yesterday at the Pass and gave him a good Mont-Bell umbrella. It's no good in the wind anyway, he'll use it more then I've been.

5/12 Mon: Got up early and made the 13 miles to Hwy 2 (369) by 11:00, There were 8 hikers total waiting for rides and no cell reception, so I got proactive and secured passage for 4 in the bed of a pickup. Wrightwood is a charming mountain town with everything a hiker needs. Picked up a package at the Mountain Hardware general store and some socks to make my Crocs safer. That muddy buildup in them makes for no traction inside or out. Very annoying! The Bear With Us B&B in town had left fliers on trail, so I called an got a room there. A 5-star place, very charming; normally $200 a room but $25 for us hikers. Spent several hours sorting my food. It's Mermaid's 57th B-day, so I took her out to Mile High pizza where I had the largest calzone I'd ever seen. Tried to cover her bill but was refused. She's a survivalist at heart, just needs some more corrupting. She thanked me with tears in her eyes this morning for getting her up early enough to enjoy the dawn. Wow. Total for the day: $73.04.

5/13 Tues: Packed up and had an awesome chicken fried steak at the Evergreen Cafe ($11.76) before hitching out with a forest service volunteer. The immediate ascent of Mt. Baden-Powell was relatively easy. The summit was very windy, but with a stunning view and a very tasteful monument. The way down was also very windy, with many rocks and blowdowns. Tanked up at Little Jimmy Spring (384) around 16:30, passed Islip Junction and roadwalked on Hwy 2 2 miles to the Eagle's Roost picnic area at 19:30. This cut several miles off the old endangered species detour with minimal risk. Most would call that cheating....
Something changed up on the mountain. The trail is an experience now, not a mission. The socks are saving my feet so I can put on a few more miles now, but there's also no guilt about losing time to sit and meditate.

5/14 Wed: The day started high and ended very low. Did a 2 mile road walk to Burkhart campground where Cartwheel, Outburst and 30-Pack of Backcountry Ninja Shirts were doing some Angeling. Hung out there for a couple of hours, then did some more road walking to shave miles. Tanked up at the BSA Camp Glenwood (400) and pushed on through the day for Mill Creek Summit (419). Got overheated and had to take more breaks then planned, lost the way and took a fortunately short detour over a mountain, then finally discovered blisters under the balls of both feet. It was manageable until the right one burst, slowing me to a hobble. Made the summit campsite after dark and bedded down with several others behind the ranger station there. Hungry, angry, lonely, tired, footsore to the point of crying and too burned out to do anything about it. So much for moments of enlightenment.

5/15 Thurs: Still in pain, but it seems to be improving for now. Got off to a 7:00 start and reached a small creek in a shaded ravine (426) at 11:00. The trail was narrow, eroded and very overgrown. Fortunately there's enough water for drinking, a bandana bath and lunch here. 14:00 was too early to leave, it's still 90* out. Between the pain, fatigue, heat, overgrowth, blowdowns and those little bastard flies that hover an inch in front of your face, I nearly lost it. Running at top speed to get away from it all only works for so long. The last few miles into North Fork Ranger Station (436) were a hobble, alternating between cursing/crying/screaming, finishing at 19:30 in the same shape as last night. Taken together, these last 2 days were harder then the whole Desert Drifter. Calling home made a few things better, but I need to rest and soon.

5/16 Fri: The morning was an 8 mile slog down a 2k” drop of poor, exposed ridgeline. Supposedly it's not as hot today, but it was 85* at 10:00 when I staggered into the Acton KOA (444). Showers, shade, laundry, a cantina, pool, hiker company; it took an hour to decide what to do first. The guy running the Cantina is a Brother from Bloomfield lodge and I special requested a large combo pizza on their Costco run (plus a hot dog and hamburger, total $27). His daughter is in all the girl youth orders and we had a ball joking at the Fraternity’s expense. It's $10 a night here, everything included. Clean, rested, fed; the last few days can now recede into bad dreams. Was getting a massage from Terrible and found that her and her man Horrible are from Petaluma! I stayed up BSing as late as I could, but sleep calls. Several are zeroing here, but space is tight at the Saufleys and there's no time to lose.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:00 am 
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5/17 Sat: Broke camp at 1:30 and made the 10 miles to Agua Dulce by 8:00. It was very slow and painful going by the end, but the rewards were worth it. The Saufleys of Hiker Heaven have been Angeling full time since '93. Everything a hiker could conceivably need is here, and the staff knows exactly what's needed. I got in and oriented, found my package (with the Tincture of Benzoine), found a cot and crashed for a while then borrowed a bike from the fleet to get breakfast [$10] in town. Got back and hung around till 16:00 when Ron (a roving volunteer who I last saw at Z&Bs) loaded the van for a shopping run into Northridge. We hit up REI where I found a pair of Keen CNXs on sale [$86.10], Walmart for supplies [43.60] and In & Out for dinner [$10.57]. Ron used to be quite active before he got old and fat, so we talked bike touring a bit. Got back in time to join in the end of movie night (“Return of the Jedi”) with the rest of my hiker tribe. We've all choked on the same dust, had the same loose shits, the same food cravings and walked the same trail. We really do feel each other's pain because everyone here is hurting somewhere. My feet have swelled 1.5 sizes, but I've only lost 5lbs.

5/18 Sun: Slept in and went to a late breakfast at the Sweetwater Cafe in town [12.15]. It was decent, but not worth going back for. Most of the hikers who came in today took care of business and moved on. All of my group have left already, so it was very quiet around the place. Sent out an update and spent the rest of the day on chores. Washed the sleeping bag, sorted my food and mailed the excess up to Tehachapi [$6.15], reconditioned my gloves and got aggressive with that blister. I ended cutting it open with my knife and soaking it repeatedly. It as only slightly infected. Fixed up one of bikes for karma points and was invited to stay or return as part of the help. The leading edge of the horde is catching up to me though. It may be spread out over a week, it has half the hiker mass of the trail.

5/19 Mon: A wet morning, my bag was soaked. Hilarious hijinks at the Cafe this morning. None of the cooks had showed up and the single waitress was so overwrought she was slugging shots with some of the hikers. Two hikers with short order experience were drafted into service and payed in tequila shots. Everything was overdone and oversized; my chicken fried steak was replaced with a skillet omelet and then made up, so I got 2 breakfasts for the price of 1 [$14.50]. Got back and found that my base weight had dropped to 15lbs, but the total weight is 50lbs! I'm carrying way too much food. Was ready to get out at 15:00, but Donna refused to let me leave until at least tomorrow when she saw my feet. They're not raw or infected and the blisters are drained and drying, they just look really nasty. Was joined for dinner [20.34] at the pizzeria by several members of teams Siesta and Donkey Force 5, which was fun. Got back and paced about, depressed and stir crazy. 3 days is too long to be sitting still, even in a place as wonderful as this. It's getting crowded here again, and I know what that means.

5/20 Tues: I basically had to sneak out this morning to get away. Breakfast [$14.72] at the bakery on the corner was incredible, much better then the Cafe. I got a ride to the trailhead with one of the other volunteers at 10:00. The weather was cool and overcast, but trouble popped up immediately. That franken-blister is getting infected and the pus is milky. Flushed the cavity with dilute Betadine, but I don't know how effective it will be. It rained hard for an hour starting at 15:00, which I waited out under an oak tree at the Bouqet Canyon cache (465). It showered until evening. I even rolled out the tarp once when I thought another downpour would hit, but didn't. Stopped at 20:00 for the night at the Anderson's Oasis cache (471). I may have been hasty in leaving so soon this morning. It's getting cold in this canyon and my feet ache horribly.

5/21 Wed: I didn't even pretend to get an early start. The morning went quickly and I reached Casa de Luna (478) around 10:00. Terri saw me on the road and gave me a lift. I may have gotten the wrong impression at the KO. She runs a tight ship herself, it's just not as obvious as at the Saufleys. Total ghetto/redneck, pancake breakfasts and taco salad dinners, near unlimited camp space; I should have stayed but the mob is literally hours behind me. Had time to wash my feet and rearrange my pack before getting a ride into Hikertown (517), missing 20 miles of roadwalk fire detour. This place is a little creepy. Other places need donations, but they treat you like long lost family. This place is a business and there's no doubts about it, pay up front. The guy who built it is richer then God and and set it up like an old west town with all the building on “main street” being cabins. I played with some newborn puppies (free for the taking), napped and choked down dinner before setting out again. The last part of that blister popped and is draining without infection.

5/22 Thurs: Made it to about mile 522 last night. Narrowly missed a thunderstorm, a local who came out to talk to me assured me it would and he was right. Got buzzed by the Feds a few times in the middle of the night but nothing came of it. The LA aqueduct is basically road walking, fast but punishing miles. The weather has stayed overcast and cool with a breeze. Made it to Cottonwood Creek Bridge cache (535) about noon and took cover under the bridge as several more storms passed by. For some reason my energy failed after leaving the bridge, despite the snack food feast during the wait. My feet are sore and the chafing is back something awful. Also, wind farms are creepy to walk through. Made it to Tylerhorse Canyon about 18:00 and decided not to push farther. Many others decided the same, it's a regular tent city by the creek. Got rained on a bit this afternoon, so I set up my tarp as a shelter for the first time. It required some imagination and a pile of rocks. The sky is clear for now but I'm not too sure of my handiwork.

5/23 Fri: My “handiwork” stayed up until 1:00. The wind was blowing it around so much that I took it down and turned it into a ground cover. The morning went smoothly, except for when I tried to be smart and go up a canyon to skip some switchbacks. Shortcuts lead to long delays, especially when loose, stony sand is involved! Tanked up at the mile 548 cache and pressed on to Tehachapi Springs Rd (558). Had strained something in my right hip which slowed me down considerably, so I only got there by 13:30. A shooting grade 8 fire from my knee to lower back, not at all pleasant. A trail angel named Kay was waiting with a busted truck, so by the time we had waited for the mechanic, gotten to the garage, switched vehicles, gone to the P.O. and back downtown it was mid-afternoon. I split a room at the Best Western with 2 others [$35.20], sorted my package, showered, did laundry then looked for dinner. Of course everyone else is at an overpriced, fancy steakhouse. My appetite is apparently strong even among thru-hikers. Two “full” dinners (soup, salad, pasta, kobe burger) only blunted my hunger. Soaked in the hot tub at the hotel and then crashed.

5/24 Sat: Woke up not too late and hit up breakfast. There was some grumbling when I collected from the roommates. Got a chance to sew up the crotch of my pants, but after that I really had nothing to do. Stowed my pack in the lobby and went to Kmart for medical supplies [$11.79]. Got some dollar hot dogs from a March of Dimes vendor [$2.50] and then chatted up a donation collector from the VFW. This hip was really slowing me down, so I hung around downtown trying to find more hikers to share a room with. No luck, so I called home and then arranged for a ride with Kay to the local Alano club later. The Apple Box restaurant was worth the walk. Spaghetti and meatballs, unlimited soup/salad/breaksticks and a heaping bowl of ice cream with a hiker discount [$12.04+$5 tip]! Got to talking with one of the oldtimers there and he mentioned a BBQ campout on the Kern river, so I grabbed my kit, jumped in his truck and took off. His memory was old and hazy, so after several detours we got here at 21:00. I met some folks, found a spot with no ants and bedded down. I had started the day not knowing where I would sleep or what I would do, but I handed it over and here I am with a blazing fire and a peace of mind.

5/25 Sun: Got some fresh made breakfast burritos with the early risers and then hit up the later risers for pancakes. People packed up and drifted off all day, so there were only 2 others to share a campfire with come evening. Spent most of the day swimming and dozing on a shady rock by the river. In the afternoon I got hot dogs from a family who had got back from fishing and tubing, then helped them pack up. Their youngest is total Aspie, a trail obsessed gear head. I showed him my kit and passed along some G.I. Wisdom, which made me a hero figure. I now have an official invite for when I'm back in the area.

5/26 Mon: Memorial day. My ride and I got up and bugged out early. We had to backtrack 20 miles to Kernville for gas, then went East 50 miles to Kennedy Meadows. It's a dusty trailer trash hamlet of 200 or so people, but the general store is the only resupply option before the mountains. There are always hikers hanging around, to the awe of holiday vacationers and the ire of the locals. Picked up 2 packages from home and a box of cookies from Jan [$15]. I then realized that I had twice the supplies needed since I hadn't used anything from my last box. Filled a box with the expensive supplies and replaced gear, then got some HEET fuel and a spaghetti and meatball dinner at the store [$37.35]. I followed rumors of internet to a trailer complex nearby, which turned out to be run by an Angel named Tom and a popular zero location. Several trail vets and organizers from the KO, including Halfmile himself, were there and I gained much intel on the snow and trail conditions to come. I like Peru, she's a botanist and near triple crowner with a bad case of wanderlust. Despite 15-20 years difference, I might be interested if she didn't already have a boyfriend. The hip may be from pack adjustment, will have to see what the bear can does. Worked some magic this morning by boiling up a flat of eggs I had gotten from the campers and passing them out. My trail karma should be good for a while.

5/27 Tues: Got my pack sorted and weighed this morning. Base 18, total 45. Went and hung around the store all midday, had a breakfast burrito and a pint of ice cream. Met some faces from way back, including Sock-Pot and 2 Israelis. I love that kid, it's impossible not to. Came back and found a reply from Yogi about the hip pain. Her's was solved with rest and shifting more weight to her shoulders. Some lowlife creeps were trolling the area and spooked Pink Panther, the woman who's been in charge of internet and bear can rentals for the past 2 weeks. She may be needy, annoying and a poser hiker, but she doesn't spook easy. These mountain towns are full of pot grows and meth labs, plus the robbery and murder that goes with that. Told her not to deal with them unless Slim or I are there. Slim is the caretaker here. A fat, loud, Amer-Indian ex-junkie felon who does most of the landscaping/construction for the trail angel community in SoCal, he has the dirt on everyone and isn't afraid to share it. It was quiet today, most people have passed on or passed through.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:01 am 
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5/28 Wed: Made a pot of soup for breakfast and hung around till nooon when I decided to go to the hospital in Ridgecrest [store tab $17.50]. Got a ride with another hiker's family who were going back to LA. Two hours in the ER showed that I have a pulled ligament. This will take me out for some time. Went out to eat at Casey's BBQ, 2 dinners in one for $22! I killed a roach on my table so they gave me 10% off too [$21.43]. I hitched a ride near the entrance of China Lake Naval Air Station from a kid who is going to be picking up the trail at Walker Pass in another week. I passed along what I could and introduced him to some of the trash hanging around Tom's place. It's a good thing I hit the hay early, the store is getting to be party central after dark. Dropping from mountain to low desert and up to mountains again was akin to culture shock. I mentioned that I had prescription painkillers from the hospital and immediately got an offer for them, which I declined.
Peru and Tom are back from a 3 day fishing trip and Grasshopper showed up wasted (again). His trail girlfriend Coyote dumped his drunk ass and he's been plastered since Agua Dulce. On the other hand, Peru says her boyfriend of 4 years she met on the trail; though that success may be due to the fact that they only see each other a few times a year to hike together. Trailmancing; when in doubt, don't go there. It can get really creepy once the endorphin induced euphoria wears off.

5/29 Thurs: Hung around the store most of the morning, prowling the hiker boxes. More people are coming in so the pickings are good for now. A thru-hiker named Sarge was just joined by her two younger sisters, both of whom are clueless. They're about to jump into the hardest terrain of the trail and they go for a midday run. Tim is coming Monday for a pickup, so I dusted and swept out the crap shack camper trailer I've taken over. A very dirty job even by my standards. Peru gave my kit another shakedown and it got a thumbs up. It lost another half pound, but without major spending on ultralight gear it's as good as it's going to get. Took a bath and a nap by the river, then went back to the store. All my buddies from early in the trail have caught up finally. Miss America, Track Pants, Shredder, Tango (formerly known as Z now that his buddy A is off trail with an infected colon) and others. It was movie/campfire night at Tom's. Bootleg slideshows of oil wrestling at Casa de Luna in the old days, complete with cross-dressing and duct tape jock straps. We were joined by a tattoo artist who had road walked 250 miles from LA to Walker Pass with a 90lb pack. I suggested Road Warrior, but the previous suggestion of Sleeves stuck because of his impressive ink. Also there was an old timer named Boots, who was making such an ass of himself that no one would have blamed me if I had followed through with my impulse to bitch slap him senseless.

5/30 Fri: Went into Ridgecrest with Slim, Sleeves and Grasshopper this morning. First up was grocery shopping, though I only needed breakfast and some snacks for the next few days [$25.65]. Things were under control at first, but then rapidly deteriorated as my companions proceeded to cause trouble at Home Depot and the hospital. I only needed to take care of some paperwork, in the meantime they were trying to score an O2 tank and were hitting on the nurses. I did find some hiking gloves to replace the old leather ones that had been completely destroyed by the desert. The madness culminated in them slamming beers the whole way back, with Slim listing the 14 cars at the bottom of the cliff we were driving up. The Horde has suddenly showed up while I was away. It was nice to see old faces but now there are over a hundred hikers here, the boxes are stripped bare and the party continues well after hiker midnight. I sat around the fire at Toms reading “True Grit” until Apache and Mary Poppins showed up; the two biggest stoners on the trail and they had to find me. Getting off and waiting out the Horde seems like a very good idea right now.

5/31 Sat: This morning Apache, Peru 2 dogs and I piled into Tom's beater pickup to restock a trail magic cashe. We stopped at Grumpy Bears diner on the way out for breakfast. Bacon, eggs, potatoes and bottomless pancakes for $10 wasn't bad, but there were so many hikers there it took 2 hours to be served. Bombing down forest service roads at 50mph in an open backed truck was also an experience. Got back and generally hung around the rest of the day. Finished that book, got into political arguments, made friends with the locals. I now have an invite to use the local private range when I return. There was some excitement over a missing hiker, but neither the Sheriff's boys nor the local SAR team were worried about him. Tom made chicken, roasted corn and stuffing for dinner, enlivened by a small kitchen fire.
Everyone is disgusted with the hikers in the Horde. They piss off the locals, litter the cashes, stay up late partying, ignore the rules and etiquette, hike with no plans, have crap resupply, all use the same ULA pack and only seem to care about beer and pot. Worst of all, they've drained the bandwidth and the water tank, so now there's no internet at Tom's and no water at the store. This isn't the trail culture I've known. Bad as it is, it's only just getting started.

6/1 Sun: I managed to score a ride back to the Bay Area with the father of the Three Sisters group. I was ready to go by 6:00, but they didn't finish packing their food till 13:00. There was plenty of time for breakfast and goodbyes. The father is a Lebanese New Yorker transplanted to California and is in full midlife crisis mode. To save own sanity I turned on the holy roller preacher act and in an hour he was comparing me to a biblical prophet. Taking the 120 through Yosemite valley, the valley and the South Bay got me home at 00:30. He had to pick up his two sons in Walnut Creek and there were several delays. In one day I've traveled the same distance it took 6 weeks to walk. I'll be using this R&R time to repack my boxes and replan. To be continued.

6/14 Sat: Further consultation with my new Doc have revealed muscular inflammation resulting in nerve compression, not ligament damage. Recovery time will be another two months. The plan of flipping up and doing WA and OR SoBo is gone, as is the trail for this year. Maybe I can squeeze in the JMT in late summer. Nothing to do but pack up the food, break down the boxes and accept that I'm supposed to be home for whatever reason. Completing the trail was only the strategic objective, the tactical objective of gaining hand on experience in long distance backpacking is achieved. Who am I kidding, this blows. Despite all the pain and afflictions of the trail, I was happy more often then not out there. I left myself no plans to come back to, now I have to figure out what to do next.

6/21 Sat: Upon further reflection, failure in this matter has been more instructive then success. Finishing the trail would have been another feather in my cap and the accolades of my admirers. Now I have to study every mistake that let to this outcome instead of being blinded by the glow of victory. Now, looking back through this journal, I see the same theme being repeated to the point of insanity. Push hard, get injured; push harder to make up for time lost in recovery, get injured again. This double standard of enjoying the ride vs. racking up miles seems to have been lost on me. The ego is tricky like that. Trying to keep up with the others, with poor footwear and too heavy a pack? The outcome should have been expected.
I now know that I have limits, however, and where they are. I now know that when planning and wisdom fail, blind faith and mule-headed stubbornness will prevail. I now know how full of suck the desert truly is. I have been reminded what failure feels like. I know now how little we need to be truly happy. First chance I get, I'll be right back on the trail. It's not going anywhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:30 am 
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I don't have time to read the journal entries right now need to go to sleep, but had to note the coincidence that I just finished watching a PCT video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIvyuazEoaw and thought hey will check in with ZS before heading to bed. And here you posted your PCT journey. Look forward to giving it a good read tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:50 pm 
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Just posted some final thoughts and post-hike analysis here: viewtopic.php?f=32&t=113204
I'll put up some pics of my current gear maybe tomorrow.

ineffableone, that's the feature film I saw at the Kick Off. The guys in it were there personally giving us a preview a week in advance of release.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:46 pm 
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kvetch wrote:
Just posted some final thoughts and post-hike analysis here: viewtopic.php?f=32&t=113204
I'll put up some pics of my current gear maybe tomorrow.

ineffableone, that's the feature film I saw at the Kick Off. The guys in it were there personally giving us a preview a week in advance of release.


LOL, that is cool. It was a pretty good film, great camera work and editing. My only gripe was how much they featured hitching into towns and that part of the journey. I would have preferred more about the trail and camping. But I can understand how the contrast between trail and town can really make someone focus on the town aspect. And while on the trail, a focus on making miles, and even just enjoying the beauty can make you forget to film.

BTW I am up to 5/17 in reading your journal entries. Really good stuff so far. I am looking forward to finishing reading it.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:08 pm 
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Just finished your journal entries. Some good stuff. Sad to hear how bad the party culture has gotten for trial hikers. While I don't fault anyone who wants to have a good time, I do fault them when they are rude and ignore the wishes of others.

I also liked your analysis of it being a learning experience and how the failures tend to be more instructive than the successes. This is so very true. We humans are weird that way and seem to learn best from our mistakes.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:59 am 
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Read the report. Learned a lot. Thanks for posting.


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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:49 pm 
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This is my kit for the JMT. Base weight 18lbs, estimated total 35lbs.
Image

I screwed up on this pic. Just imagine a Jetboil Flash and a sleeping bag stuffed in a trash compacter bag in there somewhere.
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:43 pm 
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I've got a pair of the Grease Monkey gloves in my kit, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:33 pm 
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Alright, sports fans. After a year of rehab, life changes and some serious chiropractic work, it's back to the trail. Not a thru-hike, just a section this time. While placing me lower on the trail totem pole, it's going to be a heck of a lot less stressful. In so many ways....
This year's installment begins in scenic Chester, CA (home to Denny's Copper Kettle of greasy spoon fame) and heads South to Tehachapi where I was forced to leave off the first time. Total time and distance: two months, 777.3 miles. This averages to 17 miles per day with a safety factor of nine zero days and a four day layover in Carson at the halfway point (prearranged plans). Due to life in general I won't be able to start until after Memorial Day weekend, unfortunately, placing my end date in the first week of August.
Pros:
-Hiking the JMT in peak season (packed hiker boxes!)
-Closer to home if SHTF
-Fewer people on trail
Cons:
-Hiking the JMT in peak season (packed campsites)
-NorCal in summer (hot and dry)
-Passing through the thru-hiker bubble somewhere North of Lake Tahoe
Concerns:
-Lack of natural water sources due to drought
-Hot and dry
-Old injuries
-Water availability in that part of SoCal late in the season
-Missing Majorhavok's updates to The Restless Dead (Bill rocks!)

Having learned from the many hard lessons of last year, the gear list is a good deal slimmer this time around. Base weight is down to 12lbs, with an estimated weight of 30lbs loaded. Several major changes:
-Yes, underwear this time. Ball chafe is never something to laugh about.
-A staff instead of treking poles.
-No significant cold weather or rain gear. Due to the location and season I'm pretty sure I can get away with it this time around.
-An actual stove
-Appropriate footwear

Starting at the top, from left to right: (I may substitute a vest for the half-gloves)
-Gregory Z55 pack with camera case and “custom” duel hydration carry system; cut down Thermarest Z-Lite pad; food bag; Tyvex tarp shelter; custom Kingfisher Woodworks hiking staff.
-Personal kit (salt, sunscreen, toothbrush, floss, spare spoon, earplugs, sewing needle); Papers (reading material, notebook, pencil, maps/trail notes); Clothes (L-sleeved shirt, pants, underwear); Jetboil Flash stove.
-FAK (Vagisil, painkillers, anti-diarrhea tabs, Body Glide, irrigation syringe, tincture of benzoin, gauze pad, Steri-strips, povadone iodine, superglue, safety pins, gloves); polypro jacket; wool and synthetic half-socks; gloves; beenie; 1L and 3L Platypus bottles; Phone and charger; Misc. bag (55gal drum liner poncho, cordage, sharpie and tape, spare bottle caps, batteries, twist tie).
-Benchmade Hunter; Chapstick; athletic tape; hand sanitizer; shades; Grease Monkey half-gloves; neckerchief; handkerchief; Petzel Tikka +2 headlight; Benchmade Osborne; lighter; survival necklace (Maglight Solitaire, whistle, REI compass/thermometer); Sea to Summit bug net; Water filter (Sawyer Squeeze mini, 2L Platypus bottle).
-Not pictured (oops): Sierra Designs Zissou 12 sleeping bag; Keen Newport H2s, analog watch, bear can.

Image

Not neglecting the most important piece of gear:

Image

Any input/insights/abuse from the ZS community is welcome as usual. Wish me luck and look for updates from the trail starting early June.
-DoubleCross

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:33 am 
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The JMT is one of my destination hikes! I'll be doing most of the Washington PCT this year. I can't afford to do the whole through hike even just the Washington part during the summer (peak time for my industry) but I can take days off at a time to do sections. I have a buddy that has similar situation so we plan to hike the entire thing over the summer just start up where we leave off and have fun doing it. That's the thing with these hikes who gives a flying F what some people think. Some people are independently wealthy and can take off for 5 months and do the entire PCT, then fly over and do the entire AT.

Do what you can, enjoy the hell out of it and don't let anyone judge you.

Have fun man, stay safe, take it easy, it's not a race, and most of all...... Enjoy the view!!!!!

Fake edit: Keep us posted so those of us who have a few years before we can see the Cali portion of the PCT or the JMT can drool over your experiences.

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 Post subject: Re: Thru hiking the PCT
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:37 am 
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Another edit, I have no comments on gear, if it works for you then use it. I'll always carry a little "extra" for comfort, like a camp chair.... I love me my 1lb 2oz camp chair, bought half a dozen of them when they were on sale at REI. Also I prefer a larger chopper for processing wood. But if you can do without them, I'm not one to say anything about it. You are clearly an experienced hiker, and know what you can do with and without.

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