Monday, March 28, 2011

What the hell am I doing?

So I've been seeing lots of reports of huge snowfalls in the Sierras these last couple weeks. That is fantastic news if you're planning on skiing and riding at Mammoth Mountain. On the contrary, that is terrible news if you plan on hiking through it. I'm done skiing for the season (to avoid leg injuries) and have already entered thru-hike mode/mindset. So seriously, stop snowing...

A few updates on my planning process:

  • Food for my resupply boxes is starting to take up large amounts of space in my room. A trip or two to Costco should complete my grub stockpile.

  • Secured a ride from San Diego Airport, room for the night, and ride to the trail in the morning. Thanks Scout and Frodo, I look forward to meeting you.

  • I've got 98% of my gear, just need to get shoes. (kinda important)

  • Almost have all my maps printed out. Thanks Halfmile!

  • Just posted my itinerary for the trip on "The Plan" page. I used Craig's PCT Planner (, thanks Craig. Just a note, this all estimates. I think I can do it even faster than what I planned for.

  • Trying to stop thinking about all the things that scare the hell outta me (i.e. weather, snow, water, mountain lions, Deliverance style hillbillies, and my own recklessness)

I've been so anxious to get out and do some hiking, however it's been raining in Spokane for just about the last 4 weeks straight. Spring in the Pacific Northwest! I did get one nice day last week and managed to do a small day hike. It was beautiful out and I didn't hit snow on the trail till about 2,000 feet. On some portions of the trail it had been packed down and turned into sheer ice. I fell on my ass 4 or 5 times, however somehow managed to not get violated by a stick or a rock. It's making me really consider taking micro-spikes on the trail with me. But I don't know, we'll see.

It seems like these last few weeks are dragging on, probably because I'm just so ready to get out there. Can't wait to meet you all on the trail!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm legit!

Got my thru-hike and Mt. Whitney permit in the mail today. Sweet, I am now an official thru-hiker. I've anxiously awaited seeing the PCTA envelope in the mailbox this last week, however the simplicity of the permit makes it strangely unsatisfying. Ha oh well, still super stoked for the hike anyway.

I also wanted to take a minute to answer a few of my most frequently asked questions (FAQ's), that I get when I begin to tell my friends and family members about the hike. As excited as I am to talk about the details of my trip with anyone who is curious, it's become somewhat annoying to hear these questions right away just about every time. So here they are, my list of most frequently asked questions by curious non-thru-hikers:
  1. Them: Who are you going with?

    Me: I'm going alone. It's a very large commitment you have to make many months in advance to begin the planning. I asked some buddies if they wanted to go, but jobs/school/money/lack of interest prevented anyone from committing. Honestly though, I'm okay with hiking alone. There are large numbers of hikers that start the trail every year within about the same 4-6 week window, meaning there will plenty of new friends to hike with when I'd like. I enjoy alone time and feel like I can take in a little of my surroundings when I'm not distracted by a group. I honestly have to say this trip is a very selfish thing for me. I want to take in all the natural beauty and just be able to think, working to no one's schedule but my own. I enjoy people, but I also enjoy talking to myself. I guess I'd be described as a social loner...

  2. Them: Are you going to take a gun?

    Me: (chuckle) No, I won't be taking a gun. I just personally don't feel like it's needed. Would I like one? Yeah, I'd probably feel a little better, but I can't afford the extra weight. This ultra-light backpacking thing is new to me, but I think I've realized that "If you need it, then bring it. If you think you need it, then you don't." Back in my Boy Scout days, we brought everything we thought we needed. And it was heavy, ha. Now every ounce counts and I want to keep it light. Even back then though, we spent many days backpacking in the wilderness, and we didn't bring guns. I've done a fair amount of shooting, but guns have always be associated with recreation for me. I'm very comfortable without one.

  3. Them: You should try to bulk up before you leave. Get some meat on dem bones. (Not a question at all, but more a suggestion I've been heard many times before this trip was even a thought. For those who don't know me, I'm 6'1" and 145 pounds. I've been lengthy and skinny for as long as I can remember. My family thinks I don't eat enough...believe me, I do. Fast metabolism. Super fast I guess. I've been trying to bCheck Spellingulk up for 10 years.)

    Me: Yeah, good idea. I'll get right on that.