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Ken "joat" Taylor
City: Grass Valley
Begins: Apr 6, 2013
Date: Wed, Oct 9th, 2013
Trip Distance: 2,362.9
Entry Visits: 1,605
Journal Visits: 63,633
Guestbook Views: 2,587
Guestbook Entrys: 48
Shoes and Socks:
Purchased three pair of Darn Tough short socks that have lasted the entire trip and still wear like they are almost new. I changed them regularly to keep feet dry. I should have washed them more frequently, but did try to shake dust & grit out regularly. I love these socks.
Brooks Cascadias - three pair at roughly 400mi/pair. Fantastic heal support which probably allowed me to get away with a more stiff-knee'd gate. These shoes felt wonderful, but were probably too narrow for me as I was constantly getting blisters between toes. Two of the shoes failed after ~400 miles each, with my little toe sticking out the side, which allowed grit in. Replaced the third pair at ~350 miles because timing worked out. I looked for a wide version on Brooks' website and noted that they said Cascadias are no longer recommended for thru hiking - specifically PCT, AT, CDT...
Merrel Moab Ventilator - one pair - 530 miles. Wider toe box worked well. Very limited heal cushioning forced me to walk different, keeping knees bent. No blisters until I got the shoes wet. Once wet, the liner fabric stayed wet and blisters quickly developed. Though I entered Oregon with these shoes still in good condition, there was no way I was going to proceed further into soggy northwest with them.
Keen Voyageur - Great toe box, limited heal cushioning, but I was used to that by now. Quickly became soaked when walking on wet trails. Changed socks every few hours or 8-10 miles. No problem with blisters - maybe my feet are getting tougher at this point. The upper heal support started failing in less than two hundred miles and I couldn't keep my heal centered over the sole. This was frequently painful as my heal made direct contact with rocks thru the upper. Took to Tualatin REI after I made it to Portland (after 400 miles) and they said I was lucky to get 400 miles on the shoes. Wore these all the way to Stevens Pass - another ~300 miles before I couldn't stand it any longer.
Keen Targhee II - 'waterproof' version of the Voyageur - Had these next day'd to my son thru Amazon Prime which he delivered to Stevens Pass. Second day on the trail I noticed the upper was separating from the sole on the left foot. With no cell and no way to exchange them before the border, I babied these shoes for the next ~175 miles. When I returned from my trip I returned the shoes to Amazon for a full refund. I love Amazon!!!
Salomon Quest 4D GTX - purchased thru Amazon. These only have ~80 trail miles, but still look brand new even though many of those miles were over lava and granite. Followed manufacturer directions and treated with NikWax spray on waterproofing. Great toe box and comfortable as heck while still light weight. Took a little while for me to get used to the taller upper. Loving these boots - wish I'd found them earlier in my trip.
zpacks hexamid solo w/beak and net - Just added shock cord to tieouts. Love this lightweight tent as a refuge from foul weather and bugs. I built my own bivy that snaps into the tent's tiepoints with zpacks cuban fiber tub and HiVent WPB upper and no-seeum netting over face. Used the PolyCro (window covering) for ground cloth - first lasted thru CA - second lasted thru OR & WA. Slept mostly in bivy in CA, and mostly in tent in OR & WA.
Western Mountaineering Ultralite 20 degree sleeping bag - used in CA. This bag worked very well in combination with my silk sleeping bag liner and polyester long underwear on colder nights. On warmer nights I slept on top of the bag or used it as a quilt to cover just part of my body.
Marmot Cloudbreak 30 degree synthetic bag - used in OR & WA. One oz heavier than the Ultralite, this bag kept me warm in high and relatively constant humidity. The bag became thoroughly soaked in Washington, but still managed to keep me warm in 35 degree (w/silk liner and poly long underwear). I was able to dry it out mostly during the night after eating a huge meal.
Navigation and Electronics:
When I left Mexico, my DroidX smartphone, two spare batteries and a lightweight Ankr USB charger were my only electronics. I had a small 2.5oz/2000mAH chineese solar charger that would restore the charge on the phone if I didn't use it much, but that was rare. If I left it in Airplane Mode and didn't use it much, the solar charger would be enough to top it off at night. Unfortunately, there were several times where I accidentally left something running and the battery would be too far gone for the solar charger. I ended-up leaving the solar charger in a hiker box when I received two additional (0.8oz) spare phone batteries from home.
By the time I got to Ziggy & The Bear's, I was out of paper copies of Halfmile's maps and just relied on the electronic copies on my phone. I was probably better at checking battery usage by then, so the five batteries worked fine between charging stations. In addition to the camera and .pdf maps, I also had a copy of Backcountry Navigator PRO that turned out to be invaluable on the rare instance where I got into thick clouds or fog or got lost while daydreaming and had no clue where I was at. I didn't listen to music until Washington State (I wanted to hear any rattlers), then had no idea how I lasted so many miles without music. I also had a copy of the Kindle app and several books, but usually was so tired at night that I didn't have energy to read. I used PCTHYOH app to put together nightly journal entries, then sent them via e-mail when I had reception.
There is no Cell in the HighSierra, so I briefly added a Delorme Inreach (8oz w/lithium batteries). That was good for letting everybody know I was OK and also served to coordinate an early exit for the Sierra Sisters at Woods Creek.
I carried a Canon Powershot SX260HS from Tehachapi to the Canadian border along with an extra battery. The charger for phone batteries also worked for the Powershot, so I saved some weight there. The powershot takes some amazing pictures - a panorama with that camera received Honerable Mention from PCTA 2013 photo contest(image 22):
The Mountains Are Calling And I Must Go.
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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