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Begins: Apr 28, 2017
Date: Mon, Apr 10th, 2017
Entry Visits: 1,748
Journal Visits: 6,767
Guestbook Views: 193
Guestbook Entrys: 9
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The Empty Quarter
Two weeks until I start
Well it is crunch time. I am scrambling to get everything done in time for my April 27 start. Plane to Bend is booked. Resupply packages are a work in progress. I’ve contacted businesses where I will be sending my resupplies. I’ve got all the maps and data from the Oregon Natural Desert Association. I hope they have the updated maps and data by the time I leave.
I am surprised at how little I am stressed about gear. I guess after two thru-hikes (PCT and GET) I know that it will all work out. I’ll get by with the gear I have or I will find a way to get the gear I need. I guess one of the big stressors on this trail is water availability. The ONDA recommend caching water on the first 150 miles. This has been a really wet year on the ODT, but I am going to cache anyway. There is another hiker about a month ahead of me, Day Hiker. He is reporting water at almost every source, but I am still caching. The abundance of water may cause other problems. The Steens are going to be socked in well into the summer. I am going to send an ice axe to Frenchglen. Maybe some Kahtoolas also. The other water hazard that I foresee is in the Owyhee Canyons. The route is essentially in the river. Kind of like the CDT or GET in the Gila. Water flows are well above normal. Hopefully they will be down before I get there.
This trail is WILD! It passes through some of the least populated and least visited areas in the country. Over half the trail is on old two-track and over a third is cross-country. I’ll probably see more cowboys than hikers. I am taking a GPS and a SPOT. No one is going to come along and find me if I get injured. I have to have a way to call help if something happens.
I am working on my fitness. I am 57 y.o. and have been sitting behind a desk since I hiked the GET in 2009. I’ve done the weekend backpacking trips and a few week long trips, but nothing like a thru-hike. I did do a 180 mile stretch of the AZT a couple of weeks ago. That showed me just what my fitness level is. I am slow going uphill, but I just gear down and slog through. I am going to start out at about 15 miles per day and ramp up from there. My feet are in good shape. I did my AZT hike with no blisters. I am confident that I will toughen up fairly quickly.
I’ve never really kept a journal before. I started one before my PCT hike, but I never updated it after I was on the trail. Hopefully the advances in technology will make journaling easier. On a new trail like this I feel almost obligated to journal. I’ve learned so much from the journals of Fireweed, Shane von Schlemp, Tomato, and others that I feel I would like to contribute to the body of knowledge about the ODT.
Tom On The ODT
From the ODT website, "The Oregon Desert Trail (ODT) is conceptual in nature; it is largely unmarked, does not verifiably exist in the field and is in essence a name we've given to a plausible route on public land and legal rights of way across the high desert." That is about the best recommendation for a trail that I have ever heard.
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