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Nancy - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2009

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Nancy "Why Not" Huber
City: Gold River
State: CA
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 23, 2009
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Apr 16th, 2009

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 3,733
Journal Visits: 228,534
Guestbook Views: 22,693
Guestbook Entrys: 360

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Pacific Crest Trail Map

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The Contrail


Like most hikers I’m obsessing over what to take. Or, what NOT to take.

I’m making final decisions on exactly what gear I’m taking. I’ve ordered and returned an amazing amount of gear trying to ride that thin line between as light as possible and as safe and comfortable as I need. I’ve looked at sIeeping bags with warmth ratings from 35 to 15 degrees. I’ve decided to just stay with what I already have… a Nunatak quilt. It’s a sleeping bag with no bottom because down isn’t insulating when it’s all squished under you. It’s supposed to be rated to 20 degrees. I slept in my backyard one night this winter and it got down to 27. I was just barely comfortable. I don’t think it will get that cold very often on the PCT. I’ve gone back and forth on the tent vs tarp + bivy choice. Once again I’m sticking with the Tarptent Contrail I already have. A few weeks ago I went up to Nevada City to the nerve center of Tarptent. Henry Shires, the man behind the company and designs, showed me how to pitch the Contrail. I’ve used that tent for several years and never seemed to get a consistent taught pitch. Henry’s tips should help with this. I did buy a new pack, ULA Circuit. It’s heavier (33.6oz for size small) than my old pack but should carry all the water I will need in southern California. Apparently at times I’ll need to carry 7 liters… that’s 15.4 lbs!!! I love the “made in my garage” tag on it. Brian from ULA helped me out a lot in deciding between a small and medium size. I emailed him some pictures and then talked to him on the phone. So, for the big 3 items (sleeping bag, tent and pack) I’ve managed to go “made in the USA” all the way. Dealing with small companies run by hiking zealots has been great.

I just finished weighing all my stuff and putting it down in a spreadsheet. It weighs more than I was hoping for… 13.8lbs for the pack and all the stuff in it plus 4lbs of stuff I’m wearing or carrying in my hands (poles). Now I need to go back and scrutinize every item and take out what I don’t absolutely need. Anal, I know, but I also know that keeping my pack weight down will be critical to me enjoying and finishing the hike.

Of course I can and probably will make changes to my gear throughout my hike. It should be interesting to see what I end up with. Once the rhythm of the trail takes over this gear obsession should subside. I’ve heard that very few people add to their pack. Most take out items as it becomes obvious how little is actually needed.

The pictures are from the Ned Tibbets' Snow Skills course I took the first week of April. It was a great course and lots of fun. I know I will feel more comfortable in the snow after the practice we had in self arresting after falling. I highly recommend this class to any future PCT hikers.

OK… back to packing… and obsessing….



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Journal Photo

Nancy Hikes The PCT

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:


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