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Gg-man - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2011

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City: Atlanta
State: Georgia
Begins: May 21, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, Dec 21st, 2011
Trip Distance: 2,683.9

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 2,349
Journal Visits: 243,919
Guestbook Views: 9,764
Guestbook Entrys: 133

Gear list Journal Plan Training

Pacific Crest Trail Map

Tips and Tricks

Here are a few random tips and tricks that I learned during my hike. Hopefully you will find at least of them useful.


-Target being able to do at least 150% of your expected daily average miles by the end of your training.

-Target one long hike a week and cross train during the week.

-Include as many conditions as possible in your training, darkness, rain, snow etc. for mental toughness.

-Vary your long hikes. Some of them can be faster, some longer and some trail runs without a pack. This variety will achieve better overall fitness.

-Include elevation gain in your training hikes, the more the better.

-Don’t overload your pack with weight during training, it’s a good way to get hurt.

-Avoid ibuprofen if possible during your training hikes. It could mask a growing problem.


-Look ahead two section or resupplies to make sure you have ample time to adjust schedule if you are due to arrive in town on a bad day such as a weekend if you have a resupply at a PO.

-Put some easy to find symbol on all sides of your resupply packages. I used a label with two purple smilie faces. It came in handy several times.

-Use alternatives to PO whenever possible for resupplies, they have more flexible hours.

-Halfmile’s (or Postholer’s) maps have almost all the information needed to hike. If there is something missing, write it on the maps.


-Keep a slower consistent pace.

-Don’t do a high mile day if your mileage will suffer the next day.

-Start early. You can never regain time and you can always stop early. It’s cooler and calmer hiking early in the morning.

-You will have down days or hours. But they can pass as quickly as they come.

-Don’t just poke a blister to drain, cut a small slit. This will allow it to continue to drain.

-If you feel a blister developing, stop immediately to see if there is a correction that can be made. See what’s causing the hot spot.

-Keep your feet clean to reduce blisters. Stop, wash feet and change socks every couple of hours especially in SoCal..

-Keep your toenails trimmed or you may lose them.


-Paint the top of your tent stakes red to help keep them from getting lost.

-Carry two food bags; a day bag in the top of your pack for food eaten during the day and overflow and second in the bottom of your pack containing food for future days.

-If using a visor attach your headlamp to the back strap.

-Wear one less layer to bed than you think you will need. Then as it gets colder you add a layer. This avoids sweat chilling you during the night.

-Lithium batteries, while more expensive they are longer lasting, better in cold and lighter weight.

-Buy bright colored lighters, less likely to lose them.

-Sock strategy. Two new pairs of lightweight socks with every pair of shoes. Keep the best two socks from previous section giving me three pairs overall.


-Eat a steady stream of calories to keep from hitting the wall. I targeted 300 calories/hour.

-Avoid taking foods that you marginally like even if they have the best calorie density.

-If you have an ascent coming up, eat 10-15 minutes prior to starting.

-How much water to carry? Calculate the hours to the next water and subtracted 2 to get the liters. Example: an 18 mile stretch would take me six hours and I would take 4 liters. Why subtract 2? You camel up leaving the source and arrive at the next source dry. (This could vary slight up or down depending on conditions.

-Pay attention to the latest water report!

-Don’t pack peanut butter or parmesan cheese in zipper bags. The bags dissolve.

-There is some evidence that caffeine helps to metabolize fat. I took a caffeine pill every four hours during the hiking day.


-If using a GPS, keep track of where you are on your map.

-Mark GPS waypoints on maps, prior to trip.

-If using Halfmile waypoints, look multiple points ahead and pick the best route, not just the next point.

-In the high Sierra there is little need to make sure you are on the trail in snow. Often the easiest route is not the trail.

-If carrying a GPS, practice navigating using map and compass to improve your skills. A GPS can make you navigationally stupid!

-Snow will be more common at higher elevation, on north facing slopes and in forested areas. Many times in intermittent snow it will be in areas where two out three factors are present.

-Snow level generally drops as you move north.

-Don’t step next to a log or rock in snow, there is often a void.

-If the terrain doesn’t appear to match the map, stop and figure it out, don’t rationalize what you see.

-On tough stream crossings take your time and search up and down to find an easier crossing.

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Journal Photo

Malto's PCT Adventure

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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