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Begins: Apr 29, 2008
Date: Sun, Mar 9th, 2008
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A few days ago, the tent I ordered from Six Moons Designs arrived, the Lunar Solo, so naturally, I set it up right away. I was impressed with the ease of set-up- even on the first try, it took less than five minutes. I'm sure with a little more practice, I'll cut the time substantially, too- a handy feature for setting up in bad weather. Once set up, the tent is really roomy! I was pleased with the height inside, and the extra floor space opposite the door; there's plenty of room to keep gear inside as well as me. When's dry outside, I like to sleep outside- no tent- and I was also happy to see that the view out the door of the tent is still fairly wide, although I don't think I'll use the tent except in weather conditions in which I'll want to keep the vestibule closed. My only concern about the tent is how well it will hold together through a lot of wear and tear- the seams look a little weak in key places, like where the hiking pole creates a pressure point at the apex over the door. I'll definitely be carrying extra thread & needles on the trail with me.
The past week has been a really good week for training; I've added some more weight to my pack in the form of water bottles for a total of 15 lbs in my pack- 1/2 the weight I'll be carrying on the trail. I've also found a good 5 mile out-and-back (and some good switchbacks) at the Hoyt Arboretum, just a few minutes up the hill from my house, so an easy place to train on trail tread rather than asphalt. This is great because trails are built so differently from roads- at different inclines, and with more up-and-down; training on the streets around my house is great for a quick walk, but getting out on the trail is a lot better for strengthening my ankles and knees. In fact, I think the trail, being a softer surface, is a better material for my knees; they haven't been as inflamed for the past two weeks (knock on wood).
My goal in the next week is to up my pack weight to 22 lbs by the end of the week. I've been working at the gym to strengthen my abs and back muscles so that they'll be in really good shape for carrying more weight without putting strain on the wrong muscle groups, so I'm hoping that the additional weight will be add on fairly easily. I started adding weight just by carrying my old 6 lb pack. It's super cushy, so the 6 lbs feels really lightweight, and just having the pack on didn't slow me down at all. The first time I added a few lbs of water, my hiking speed dropped-- a lot! But within a week, I was back at my normal speed...so I added more weight to 15 lbs. Again, I was slower and have gradually gained speed again, so now is time to add weight again. I can tell when I'm not ready to add weight because my walking gait is a little off- usually because I'm walking slightly more slowly to accommodate the pack. When I've worked back up to my comfortable gait, the added weight is much less of a burden; I could almost imagine it wasn't there. A useful trick on the trail!
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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