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Jack and Barb
Begins: Apr 17, 2011
Date: Tue, May 17th, 2011
Daily Distance: 0
Trip Distance: 369.0
Entry Visits: 1,680
Journal Visits: 383,800
Guestbook Views: 167,160
Guestbook Entrys: 482
We woke up to wet streets and high winds this morning. We are staying at a very nice place called Canyon Creek Inn. It was only 10 bucks more than the Pines, across the street and word has it that the Pines is quite run down. We are here for at least two nights.
Breakfast this morning was at the Evergreen Restaurant, just down the street. The place was packed with thru's and more were coming through the door by the minute. A Canadian couple, Bluebird and Stormin' Norman just arrived after a blustery night on the mountain. They managed to camp in a sheltered spot but were snowed on and could hear the howling winds in the trees overhead all night.
Bob came in this morning as well and related similar tales. We were glad we left Cajon when we did and were able to spend the night in a cozy hotel room.
Right now, it looks like tomorrow will be our departure. A lot of others are planning on tomorrow as well. We shall see.
People that have never thru hiked might wonder what a tyical day is like. Well, we can't speak for everyone but this is what our life has been like for the last month.
We try to get up early. Sometime we use the alarm on a watch to wake us up. As Bob says "If you start early, you have options". You can hang at a place for a bit longer, you can spend more time at lunch, you can go further (if your body cooperates) or you can knock off earlier and have a more leisurely hang in camp.
Lately, it has been quite cold in the mornings. We put our clothes in our sleeping bags to "pre-heat" them. We attempt to wear only what we will be hiking in plus a wind jacket when we start. Jack double checks the water stockpile and determines where we will stop and reload.
Since Jack stores his sleeping bag in the bottom of his pack, he must unload everything to pack it first. Barb stores her's on top so she can be ready to go quicker. We break down the tent last.
Breakfast consists of either cold cereal with powdered milk or two of our "Oatmeal on the Run" bars. We eat the cereal in camp and sometimes eat the bars "On the run".
Barb usually stretches or does some yoga before we start (3-5 minutes). Jack just goes.
Once on the trail, we start out slow to get warmed up. Depending on the conditions, we usually pick up the pace after about 20 minutes.
Hiking the PCT is really all about miles. You have to put in the hours to get the miles. Fact of the matter is that for much of the time, we are looking down at the trail. We have been tripped up way too many times. When the trail is clear, we find more time to look around and of course, we stop fairly often to marvel at something or take pictures.
Don't think that us PCT'rs are just pounding out the miles and staring at the ground. It is not that at all. But, it is difficult to do other things, like look at a GPS or a map, or even open a candy bar wrapper and still hike at speed. We find it best to knock back the speed when other things are happening.
We can comfortably move at about 3 mph but with all our stops an "marveling", overall average is more like 2.5. In climbing mode, we run at about 2 mph. On a long climbing day, to rack up 20 miles, we must be on the trail for 10 hours. That may seem like a long time but if we start at 6am, we are talking about stopping at 4pm, which is a respectable stopping time. Usually, we spend more down time and stop about 5-6 pm.
Lunch is either peanut butter and jelly on tortillas or salami and cheese with mustard (packets) on tortillas. We drink about 3 quarts of maltodextrine sports drink throughout the day (we alotted for 4 qts but find it hard to consume it). We yell out "Malto" whenever one wants to swig on the malto (gatoraid) bottle. We need a different delivery system for the malto so it is easier to consume. You cannot put it in a platypus type bag as it will gum everything up so we share the bottles.
We carry snacks in one of our backside pouches on the packs. Each morning we choose what type of snacks to consume. We might have bags of M&M's, Snickers bars, PayDays, Cookies, beef jerkey, dried fruit or lara bars. We are drawing from a huge selection so we always have something appealing to look forward to.
Rule Number Six: We forgot to tell you about rule number six. It is our rule of course and we don't expect anyone else to follow it but it sure would be good if all hikers adopted rule six as their own. Rule six states that each day we must perform one instance of trail maintenance. Just kicking a pine cone off the trail qualifies, but usually we do more and definitely more than one instance. We figure we might do about five rule sixes per day on average. One day, we remove a very big heavy tree branch covering the trail but mostly, we are sliding big rocks off the trail with our feet. We hope that rule six will make it into the dictionary of hiking terms and maybe more people will adopt it.
Rule Number Seven: Yes, we also have a rule number 7. It is a simple rule not to stop for any length of time (more than a minute) when you are on an uphill grade. Well, sometimes you have to but generaly, we try to stop on the flats or the downhills. It is so hard starting up again when you are on an uphill.
No rule number eight yet but we expect there will be.
We try to make our lunch stops short, usually 20-30 minutes. We try to stop at a nice place, by a river or under a shady tree. We try to Bart-speed when we can and we slow when there is more to look at or when the trail is more difficult.
Upon arriving at our destination. We put up the tent first. Barb takes care of opening up the bags and blowing up the air mattresses and Jack starts the stove (isobutane) and begins heating water. We only have one hot meal per day and usually it is a simple thing that only requires adding hot water. We passed through a milestone of sorts a few days ago where we are now consuming a two person meal each (like Mountain House Beef Stroganoff for two). When we can, we mix up a pudding with the packets and powdered Nido, whole milk.
After dinner, we move into the tent (sometimes eat our dinner in the tent). Go over the maps for the next day, sometimes listen to the weather report on our little AM radio and if there is a cell connection, we connect with friends and family or work on these journal entries. We are almost always asleep by 9 pm. Ready for another day.
We added a video on the May 1st entry by our friend Kimo Jim. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out!
Jack And Barb Take On The PCT
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