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Begins: Apr 14, 2017
Date: Sat, May 28th, 2016
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
I've been a busy bee these past three days. I think I've finally wedged myself out of this rut I've been in as far as planning the hike. I feel far closer to the PCT now than I did three days ago.
On Thursday I took my mom to REI with me to get a feel for what I wanted in each piece of equipment, get a feel for the sizes and just kind of shop around. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the equipment I would need. By the time I left I had such an feeling of confidence in REI's return policy that I had decided to buy new things from them wherever I could. That night I went on their website and compared the specifications and reviews of their tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags.
Yesterday morning I went back with my friends and bought an Osprey Aura 65 backpack, $ 194; a BA Fly Creek HV UL1, $ 260; an Exped Synmat7 $ 111; and an REI Joule sleeping bag. I'm quite happy with all of them so far. I may not have needed the extra volume in the tent, but I wasn't able to buy the regular version of it, and I'm very happy with the weight and price. The field test will tell if its durability is what I'm looking for. The bag seemed like a good compromise between warmth and weight. I confess I prefer to sleep naked in my sleeping bag when I go camping so I wanted a bag with a pretty low temperature rating, but one that wasn't outrageously priced. The Joule was the best answer I could find; it feels light, warm and simple, like I wanted. The Synmat is definitely my favorite piece of equipment so far. For years I've been a side-sleeping camper and for years I've been plagued by achey hips in the morning. As soon as I laid on the Synmat I fell in love. It's just firm enough to support my smallish upper body comfortably without feeling too firm under my hips. It is a bit heavy at 1.8 pounds but what the hell, it's my hike!
I also looked for shoes and settled on the Salomon X Ultra Low II GTX. My wide feet cause me so many problems! I'm not 100% a fan of the quick kevlar laces; I usually tie my shoes with lots of slack in the forefoot and not much at the ankles to keep them from falling off, and I can't do that with the Salomon laces. I wore them during my 5 hour work shift and they were really killing my feet by the end; I tried them again today and they still hurt my feet a lot. I don't know if they just need to be broken in a little more, or if they're just bad for my feet. I think I want to go back to REI to get my second choice shoe (can't remember the brand/model). If they feel better, I should get them instead of the Salomons.
And finally, I bought a pair of Superfeet Greens for $ 36. I had a different kind of Superfeet insoles before, but an REI employee sized my feet and said the arches on them were too high. She recommended the Greens in size E based on the length of my arches. After cutting them to fit my shoes, they feel great and I can't wait to see how they feel tomorrow at work!
Today I returned for the third day in a row and bought a Sawyer Squeeze with one 1-liter bag and a box of two 64-oz bags for another $ 9; a Sea to Summit bug headnet for $ 10; an eyemask for $ 13; and a Cocoon silk mummy liner for $ 65. I ordered a ULA Rain Kilt online for $ 30. I feel like I'm spending way too much money; the total for my gear is up to $ 976. Once I get my shoes that could be $ 1400. Everything else on my list--which is probably incomplete--could push the price up to $ 2000. That's way more than I originally thought I would be spending...Doing this math is making me sweat a little. Deep breaths...
So that's my right foot forward. My left foot is next. I've asked for 5 days off in July for a 4-day practice hike along the McKenzie river. By then I should certainly have all my gear. In the meantime I know I need to work on my physical fitness. I walk a lot already: 5 to 10 miles five days a week at work, as well as a few 2+-mile walks a day at the park with my dog. Now that I type that out, it sounds miniscule compared to the 20-mile days I'll need to put on the trail. I'm going to find out if I can walk on my gym's treadmills with a weighted pack; if not, perhaps another gym in the area will.
Countdown: 318 days
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