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Brian "Gadget" Lewis
Begins: Jun 29, 2018
Date: Tue, Jun 26th, 2018
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470 miles on the PCT + TRT
My Green Bay hiking friends --- Carl and Ed --- both wanted to hike “out west” again this year, but couldn’t agree on what they were interested in doing. I think it started with Carl deciding to hike the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT), 171 miles worth of trail circumnavigating Lake Tahoe, on the border between California and Nevada, right about where that border takes a 45 degree turn. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahoe_Rim_Trail
I was already a bit familiar with the TRT, as part of the western side of the TRT is also the PCT, so that portion I hiked in 2008.
For his part, Ed was interested in doing more hiking. He’s been knocking off parts of the PCT for some time now, and serendipitously, a next logical stretch for him was from the area around Lake Tahoe on north to Burney Falls --- from where we started our northbound PCT hike last year to Ashland, OR.
So this year Ed and I are going to start again from the Burney Falls area, but hike southbound for just about 300 miles to get to Tahoe City, which lies on the northwest side of lake Tahoe. There we’ll meet up with Carl and another hiking friend named Tim, and together hike the full circle of the TRT (Tim is unfortunately not going to be able to stay with us to hike the entire TRT).
So anyway, at the end of the trip, Ed and I will have hiked approximately 470 miles.
Ed and I fly into Reno on June 27th, and will start hiking on Friday June 29th from where the PCT crosses highway 89. We will probably hike closer to a planned schedule than I ever do (or want to do), just because we have a scheduled meet-up time with Carl and Tim. We’ll fly home again from Reno in early August.
I’m sending resupply boxes to Drakesbad Ranch, to Belden, and to Sierra City, figuring that I can just get food from various types of stores at other stops. Ed is opting to send more boxes than I.
I’m pleased with how light my pack is turning out for this trip; conditions are favorable so I can go close to as light as I ever do. My base pack weight (everything carried except for consumables --- food, water, stove fuel) is about 13 pounds. Our initial stretch requires a tad less than 3 days of food, so adding food and stove fuel and I’m a bit under 18 pounds starting out --- but not counting water. Our first hiking day might be a ‘dry’ day, however, so I might have to start out with more water than I would like. Still. Going to be a pretty light pack overall. I think my longest carry will be out of Belden heading to Sierra City, where we’ll take 6 days of food. But my hope and expectation is that I won’t develop “hiker hunger” this trip, so will need less food weight per day as compared to what a typical thru-hiker carries.
It’s complicated, though, as thru-hikers walk more miles per day on average than we will, so it’s somewhat of a wash I guess.
One of the things I’ve done recently is to allow my body weight to climb a bit in the expectation that I’ll walk it off over the next 6 weeks, and in the hope that I won’t get “hiker hunger”. Because once your body starts eating like that, it can be hard to stop after you go home! Unfortunately, I’m thinking now that I overshot. Time to hit the trail and start walking myself thinner.
One of the ways I’m keeping my pack weight down this trip is by leaving my folding Bluetooth keyboard at home. What this means is that my blog entries will tend to be shorter (perhaps mercifully so). I’m not anticipating that I’ll have a lot of opportunities to upload blog entries from the trail anyway, so don’t expect this to be maintained in a very “real-time” way. My cell carrier is T-Mobile, a service that is not renowned for very good backcountry coverage.
I’m looking forward to this hike; assuming that my body gets tougher and leaner along the way without too much pain and suffering, I think the biggest concern I have is whether any of the relevant bits of California will catch on fire in the interim. It’s an all-too-common problem, I’m afraid. Less so for shorter distances like we’re hiking; pretty much a perennial problem for thru-hikers.
In fact, shortly after I wrote the last sentences I read a Seattle Times article titled “Drought-stricken West braces as wildfire season flares up”, and the article is about Northern California. The article says that unusually hot weather, high winds and highly flammable vegetation turned brittle by drought helped fuel some fires that started this past weekend.
Yes, I’m hoping we can hike this with no major fires close by!
Gadget's Trail Journal
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
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