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Begins: Apr 19, 2014
Date: Thu, Jan 8th, 2015
Trip Distance: 155.8
Entry Visits: 1,687
Journal Visits: 9,785
Guestbook Views: 711
Guestbook Entrys: 15
Pacific Crest Trail Map
Well Friends, Last years hike ended at Cajon Pass (mile 342). I succumbed to two separate issues: Back pain and emotional.
Back pain: Although I had a lighter pack (Osprey Exos 58) after Mt Laguna, this was still not a good pack for me. The waist band is sewn in and cannot be changed to tighten beyond its fixed size range of 32-36". This was not quite tight enough for me, so more weight was carried on my shoulders. And I still carry too much food (weight). Like I'm going to starve, right? LOL!!! And after confirming with multiple doctors, I have accepted that I have a lot of arthritis in my back. At Big Bear (252) I went home and searched for a (another) new pack, settling on an REI model that adjusts well but weighs 5# with it's bells and whistles, and I let my body heal up some. I wore this one from Big Bear to Cabazon (90 miles). It was OK but not great. I have a better one for 2015 More on this later.
Emotional: I retired from well over 30 years of firefighting (source of the back arthritis probably!) on March 1 and hit the trail in April. Too little adjustment time. I felt a strong need to be at home with my family, working on chores there. Catching up on neglected projects, etc. So I went home. Joined as a volunteer with the local fire department. Had the busiest wildland fire season this county has seen in decades. Spend a lot of days helping fight fires that literally threatened the homes of friends, family and neighbors. So I am glad I went home.
PLAN FOR 2015:
I am going to try again. What is different?
1. Better pack (I hope. ULA Catalyst). Better gear and less of it. Carry only enough food to make it to the next resupply point. All this adds up to less weight!
2. I've been home long enough to adjust somewhat. I hope to be more mentally prepared for a long absence.
3. Experience! I had never done a long pack trip. My previous experiences were four to five day, 50 to 60 mile efforts. Now I have a 4 week 342 mile trip behind me. That will help.
What is the same? My back is still a problem. I will deal with this by limiting my daily mileage to 15-16 (except day 1, which will be a 20.5 miler to get off the border to Lake Morena), taking breaks and stretching. I will probably do a few months of yoga before I go.
Strategery: My plan is to start once again from the Mexico border, so I can get the full thru-hike experience. Hike to Cabazon. Get a ride back to Lake Morena for Annual Day Zero Kick Off (ADZPCTKO). Ride back to Cabazon, re-engage, and keep going. Wish me luck! See you out there!
Look for a log in the 2015 hikers journals!