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Begins: Apr 16, 2014
Date: Tue, Nov 5th, 2013
Start: Cumberland, MD
End: Washington, DC
Daily Distance: 0
Entry Visits: 1,172
Journal Visits: 4,555
Guestbook Views: 1,146
Guestbook Entrys: 4
Gear list Training
Pacific Crest Trail Map
(Click image for full size)
sunrise over Great Falls
Just got back from a 9 day hike on the C&O Canal.Our days ranged from 15.8 miles to 25.2 for a total of 184.5. My hiking partner Froot Loop and I quickly learned why it is primarily biked rather than hiked. It's entirely flat (since it used to be a working canal), which means more miles per day but it also means you're using the same muscles over and over. Since returning, I've been having some issues with my left Achilles tendon when I go on my runs. I've got a half-marathon coming up in less than 2 weeks so I'm hoping it resolves itself soon.
Gear-wise, here's what I learned on the hike:
Big 3 - pack, tent and sleeping bag all work great. My Osprey Aura 50 is the perfect size, when I'm not carrying a full load of food I even have some extra space. I was often too warm in my Marmot Helium and didn't have it zipped up all the way every night, which is a good sign for those cold desert nights. I might put my sleeping bag liner in the mail drop I send to Kennedy Meadows for the Sierra, but other than that I don't think I'll need it. I do need to get a waterproof compression sack for it though. I've had my Tarptent for awhile so I knew it would work out fine. The only thing I don't like about it is how the tension sags when it rains heavily so it feels like the tent is coming down on you.
Cooking - I need a new pot, ASAP. The one I have is huge and heavy. I've added the Snow Peak solo cookset to my REI wishlist. My Pocket Rocket worked well, but I do need to make a wind screen for it. My small canister of fuel lasted the whole 9 days with me using it an average of once a day (some days I used it twice, some not at all). I think I'll want to carry the larger fuel canisters on my thru-hike though, to compensate for altitude and just to be on the safe side.
Clothes and Shoes- Need new pants, the ones I have are heavy and they chafe. Ugh. BUT, my rain pants saved my ass. I'm basically going to need to buy everything except rain gear and sleeping baselayers before I hit the trail. Since Christmas and my birthday pass before the hike begins, I'm hoping I might be able to get some Icebreaker stuff. I hiked in size 11 Brooks PureConnect 2 and they worked really well. They rubbed my heels a bit, but I think they might work? I feel like there's no other way but to start my thru hike in them and see what happens. I do need to go up a size in the Injinji socks, though. Once my feet swelled my toes were squeezed real tight in the toe pockets.
Water filter - The Sawyer Squeeze was difficult to use when I wasn't getting water from the pumps along the trail. The pouches were hard to fill, it became easier with more use, but the pouch still doesn't fill all the way up when placed in a slowly moving river or stagnant canal. I'm hoping this continues to improve, because I really like the lightweight system and the adapter that makes it so I don't have to remove my bladder from my pack. Anyone else have this issue?
All in all a good hike, and it was beautiful with the fall colors. I'm glad I did this shakedown now so I have plenty of time to save up for the rest of the gear I need along with everything else I need to take care of before I leave (plane ticket, bills, etc.). Now I'm just waiting with bated breath until I can be on the trail again. Having that small taste of trail life left me hungry for more. Do I really have to wait 5 months?
Until next time,
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