|Maps, guidebook, and laptop used for planning.|
Gear: I can’t even begin to explain how draining this process can be. Especially for a first time thru hiker. Once a backpacker makes the shift from casual weekend trips to extended thru hiking, it becomes a whole other animal. EVERY…OUNCE…MATTERS! I just recently spent a solid 4hrs on choosing rain gear. My current rain jacket is 11oz and that is NOT acceptable for the trail. I’ve done research. I’ve talked to thru hikers, and read the blogs and gear reviews. I looked on every major company’s website and checked the weight of every rain jacket they sold. If it was under 9oz I looked up reviews and took notes. I still came away with no perfect fit for what I needed. I begrudgingly went to bed exhausted and frustrated. I woke up the next morning and randomly saw a rain jacket recommendation on the PCT-L. It was as if the clouds had parted and my destined rain jacket was floating there waiting for me! Yes, I probably could have picked any old rain jacket or a cheap poncho, but when I know it’s one of the few pieces of clothing I’ll have for 5 months outside on the trail, it becomes much more important to find just the right thing. I have found what I was looking for (and on sale!). The perfect multi-use rain jacket that can also be used as a wind breaker in S Cali, for added warmth on cold mornings, and also double as a soft dreamy pillow at night, has been found. Check one more thing off the list! I will be posting my gear list soon so everyone can see what I’ll be using and how much weight I’ll be carrying with me.
Logistics: When and how do I start? How do I get my food/gear? Should I journal online and what device should I take with me to post online? What about work? How much money do I need to securely do this? What if I don’t finish or get injured? What training should I do? Which maps do I use? How much food fits in a bear canister and where will I need one? I’ve been thinking about this trip for about 10 months, so these questions and many others have had plenty of time to swim in my head. I’ve had time to arrange my life so I can take time off to do this. As a substitute teacher, I can leave for an undetermined amount of time and return to my job as if I never left. I’ve been able to save up by going back to my babysitting/nanny roots. I’ve found a safe spot (with Dad and Robin) for my belongings and car. I just got my first smart phone (iPhone). Gasp!
As you can see, this can go on forever (as it does in my head), but I also know that no amount of planning will prepare me for what lies ahead. Being a substitute teacher, I like that no two days are the same. I rarely know what’s coming until it’s right in front of me. I just have to think on my feet and hold on for the ride. This trip will be quite a journey and I look forward to all the surprises and challenges to come. Bring it on!