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Bedwards56 - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2011

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Bruce "Bookworm" Edwards
City: Takoma Park
State: Maryland
Begins: Apr 21, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Tue, Apr 5th, 2011

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Pacific Crest Trail Map

Getting Ready

Only 2 weeks until I hit the trail! I'm getting overwhelmed with a combination of prepations for the trip, plus wrapping up loose ends at my job and at home. My employer is allowing me to take 6 months of unpaid leave, but I've had to train my successor! I've also been buying lots of food and repackaging it into quart size Ziploc bags. I want to keep meals really simple. For instance, a typical dinner would include rice, split pea soup mix, some dehydated vegetables, and perhaps a little instant mashed potatoes as thickener. For sure, all of my dinners will be simple one-pot meals. Breakfast will be either instant oatmeal, granola, or a Pro Bar. Lunch will include trail mix, snack bars, cheese, peanut butter, etc. At least once a day I will brew a pot of tea, usually either herbal tea or Japanese green tea.

In retrospect, the smartest thing I've done during my preparations was to take a 5 day shakedown hike. I could easily have convinced myself that I'm experienced enough already to know what to take, but in fact I learned a lot from this shakedown. I went on the Appalachian Trail near Harper's Ferry, about 60 miles from where I live. I also took notes on how much (in ounces) I brought of each kind of food, and then weighed everything I brought home. Here are some of things I learned:

(1) Yes, I really CAN handle walking 18-20 miles per day and still enjoy myself.
(2) The lighter I can make my pack, the more I'm going to enjoy my thru hiking experience.
(3) The stove I thought I was going to use really does NOT work well in windy and/or cold conditions. Therefore, I need to consider upgrading my stove.
(4) The 8 ounce propane/butane gas canister I brought only lasted about 3.5 days - not long enough! Again, a better stove may help.
(5) I didn't eat nearly as much as I expected I would. I expect my appetite will increase on the big trek, but the big message is I tend to be too conservative about the food I bring (i.e, I always carry too much food).
(6) The most important lesson learned - I'm really and truly ready for this hike!

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Bruce Edwards

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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