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Mark "SlowBro" Hurd
Begins: Apr 5, 2014
Date: Tue, Mar 25th, 2014
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
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Well I'm caught up on my sleep, the gear has been sorted, and I'm mulling over the trip. This was definitely among the most rugged if not the most rugged backpacking trip I've ever done in 45 years of camping. I've had my share of off trail adventures, spent hours climbing over logs in a forest blowdown, and walked many a mile amongst cactus and brush on desert trips, but the backcountry of Carlsbad takes the cake. I think the fact that there was no trail for a significant portion of this trek is what made it so difficult. Bushwhacking through spiny terrain without benefit of a trail certainly keeps one focused. Uneven footing, dodging thorns and needles, and asending and descending steep terrain takes it's toll. Fortunately the weather was mild with only light winds or it would've been more of an epic trip.
The good news is that we both did pretty well. I was concerned because the trip like this with a lot of cross country travel usually gives me problems with my feet and/or my knees, but I had no problems with either. This, in spite of the fact that I was carrying 30 to 35 pounds with the extra water we brought. Apparently all my training has paid off which certainly gives me more confidence for the PCT. The Injinji socks were wonderful. I had no blisters or hotspots at all. My feet were very comfortable throughout the trip.
As a result of this trip I have also changed my thoughts on water management. My original plan had been to take only untreated water and simply filter it every time I needed a drink or water for cooking. But I have decided to take one container to hold clean water along with the untreated water containers.This will make getting a drink and cooking a little more seamless as I won't have to fumble with the filter every time I need water.
The hammock failure was a surprise for me and the first time that has ever happened. I spoke with Randy at Dream Hammocks and he was unaware of any similar failures, but was emphatic about making it right. So I sent the hammock off to him yesterday and he's going to rebuild it for me. Also, a few hours of laying on the ground trying to sleep got me thinking about ground dwelling. So I decided to invest in a Klymit inflatable sleeping pad. It is a little unorthodox looking, but it is very light. The one I bought came in at 5.8 ounces in the stuff sack.
I also had an opportunity to check out the inReach GPS/satellite unit that I carry. Nancy was able to follow my travels on her computer at home and we were able to text each other even though my cell phone had "No Service" most of the trip. Bob was even able to get the basketball scores he was interested in from his wife via text.
So, in retrospect I learned a lot during this trip. And even though it was a pretty arduous trip, it was also a ton of fun. There is something about surviving adversity that always enhances the adventure for me.
"I can't say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days." -Daniel Boone
"Merces est in iter." -SlowBro