Begins: Apr 10, 2018
Date: Wed, Feb 21st, 2018
Entry Visits: 1,189
Journal Visits: 5,185
Pacific Crest Trail Map
I went on a short training hike the other day in CT. It is a fairly large Park named Sleeping Giant and our 50 mile long blue trail passes right thru it. It's named for the hills being shaped like a sleeping giant.
I started mid day, the weather was beautiful and there was snow on the ground but it was soft and not slippery and it wasn't deep. I wore yaktrax since I was coming up the north side of the hill which was completely covered in snow.
I got to a steep rocky incline and I didn't make it far as I twisted my knee going uphill by turning my body wrong.
I had all my lightweight gear that I will be taking with me on the PCT, which felt amazing by the way. I felt like I had a day pack on even w a sleeping bag, tent, stove, water food etc.
So why did this happen ? When hiking alone in the snow, you have to be more careful. If you fall and really injure yourself, most likely no one will respond as fast as you would hope.
Keeping this in mind, I was careful. I was also a little stiff with fear of slipping as the climb was almost technical. Being stiff does not help you. It hinders. It's why I got hurt and twisted my knee. You have to be confident but careful, sure-footed and fearless.
It brings me back to the second time I climbed Mount Whitney, a 14,500 foot mountain in Cali. I was fearless compared to the first time. Near the top of the mountain there was a large snow field that I decided to run up, keeping a low center of gravity by crouch running because I knew it was safe. I knew that if I took my time I would tense up and I would make it unsafe by not being surefooted. When I ran, I passed a large group of children and adults who stepped aside to be courteous as I was going up the mountain and they were going down. Apparently, they were impressed because they clapped. I laughed waved and kept running.
In contrast,the first time on that mountain, every time I hit snow with a steep drop off next to trail, I froze up and nearly hyperventilated. I was stiff and it wasn't safe.
I think the only reason I tensed up on this hike was because I was alone and there was snow and I was so afraid to be injured before my PCT hike.
Anyway, back to the point of the story. So I had to crab crawl backwards up the rest of the hill. It took awhile. I decided to go up because I was closer to the top where there was a tower and better shelter than my tent whereas the car was much further away.
At the top of this hill, I pulled myself up by a sapling and tried using my Gossamer Gear poles as crutches. I put all my weight on them to not use my injured knee too much. I didn't break them but they collapsed down to the shortest length, not holding at the locking mechanisms. I wasn't surprised. I read the reviews. I laughed at myself. I knew just as well as some of you that lighter weight doesn't mean it's any better of gear. If I had had my 24 ounce Black Diamond trekking poles, I would have hobbled easier up to the tower without having to go all hunchback style.
So ya, I made it out and I'm ok. That was the other day where it hurt to stand and today I can kinda walk now.
I'll be fine for the hike still but here I am again, questioning my gear. Do I save weight which my knees will thank me in the long run for or do I pack something two times the weight in case of injury it is more multifunction and again my knees will thank me for that too.
I'm sure I will go back and forth on what to bring. Either way, this experience, even tho it seems bad, helps me learn about my gear and my own capabilities in a crisis, which is good training for the trail I will be living on for 4-6 months.
I am still pumped up.
Live deliberately, be wild and be true