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Begins: Apr 16, 2018
Date: Sun, Apr 17th, 2016
Start: Charlotte Pass, NSW
End: Charlotte Pass, NSW
Daily Distance: 7
Trip Distance: 7.0
Entry Visits: 1,042
Journal Visits: 1,638
Guestbook Views: 23
Guestbook Entrys: 2
Pacific Crest Trail Map
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Kosciuszko national park
The weekend just passed saw me breakout my new hiking gear and finally put them in to use; test the waters as some would say. The plan was my best friend, Sarah (who also is planning to do the PCT with me), Stu her partner and myself were going to be walking from Charlotte Pass in Kosciuszko national park, around in a circuit, passing the top three highest peaks in Australia before coming back to the car. It as approximately 23 kilometers or 15 miles of on and off track walking.
For those who don't know the Australian alpine backcountry then let me give you perspective, the weather is unpredictable, its windy and quite cold. However, it is beautiful country and a type of land which is particular to only this part of Australia, you should look it up if you haven't seen it before.
The gear that I would be using for the PCT that I was keen to test out was my Osprey Ariel 65L pack, my ZPacks Duplex tent and my Enlightenment Equipment Enigma Sleeping Quilt, in addition to this I was interested to see how I would manage with weight on my back and how I would go organising myself.
I was surprised to find that my packing weight was 28 pounds (including 4 litres of water plus three days of food). I was quite surprised and proud of myself with this figure and this was my first attempt of packing a pack like this in my life. I was anticipating that it would be much heavier. Looking back at the end of my trip, I know how I could lose a few pounds of weight, so I am eager to see how I go next time.
The first two kilometers of my trip were a shock to the system, I was starting to think 'what the hell am I thinking, wanting to carry this weight for over 2000 miles?!' and I started becoming concerned about the challenge I had placed in front of me, for the next two days and for the future on the PCT. However, lucky for me my muscles began to warm, and all the weight lifting training I had done of the past year had kicked in, and my pack started feeling lighter and lighter and my legs and core became stronger. I must commend Osprey for their packs, they are very comfortable, although one of my shoulder straps was beginning to dig into my collarbone, but that is an easy fix with some lambs skin and wool. For the rest of my days, my pack became more comfortable and I was beginning to know where is was comfortable on me. I have to keep in mind that I was wearing three layers of clothing under my bag so I will have to test in hotter weather to see if it is just as comfortable.
In relation to my Zpacks tent, I was happy with it's performance although I need to brush up with my skills in putting it up, because it began to sag and the pegs were not doing so well against the wind (I have already bought some MSR groundhogs to substitute for this). However, I was really happy with it's ability to keep the wind and rain off me (as got stuck in the middle of a snow/lightening storm on night 2) and although I had to hold the stakes down with rocks, the tent held! I do like it but it is going to take getting used to, as it is such an open planned tent and only single walled, it makes you feel like you're sleeping outside!
My EE sleeping quilt was fantastic, it kept me warm on the cold nights and easily allowed me to sleep on my side and stomach without feeling like I was being strangled or smothered. Similarly it allowed enough air flow to keep me cool as I often find myself over heating, I think that this quilt will really show it's best qualities on warm nights when I want to be covered but still cool. My EE bag is rated to 20F or -6C.
All in all I was very happy with my trip, I learnt alot (like how I need a cooking stove because cold food is miserable) and I also relaxed a lot, something I have a lack of lately. I walked out of this trip more excited for the PCT because I feel like I'm on my next stage of planning now, which is practice, practice, PRACTICE! I need to remember that I have one shot for this trip, otherwise I have to wait years to come back. However, I'm confident that I will be able to push through the physical hardships. The real challenge for me, which I know is a challenge for a lot of other thru-hikers, will be the mental challenge and strain which comes with being away from your friends, family and (for me) being away from my country and the place that I am comfortable. Along with practicing my backpacking skills over the next few months, I will also look into my mental training and begin piecing together a plan if my anxiety rises or I feel like I am struggling.
The PCT will be a real life changing journey for me, and I plan to come out on top.