So, I’ve got everything together, it’s all figured out, all I have to do is get myself to the trailhead. Ha Ha! NOT! And what’s worse is my plans, and even my basic strategy keeps changing! I only have a week left! Aaugh!
First, I read a blog post from a dude that got his base weight (i.e., all gear except consumables like food, water, and fuel) down to 8 pounds! How cool would that be? He accomplished this by having his ultra-light buddy go through his pack and toss out a whole bunch of stuff that he probably wouldn’t need. This got me thinking that I need to do that too.
I had planned to avoid Post Offices as much as possible. Nothing like showing up late on Friday after the Post Office closes and being stuck there until Monday morning. Boo. But now I’m thinking I should have a “bounce box” for most of the trip. A bounce box is a box that you keep mailing to yourself over and over as you move up the trail. Not supposed to rain next week? Bounce the tent and rain gear. No snow next section? Bounce the snow-baskets for my trekking poles. That sort of thing. Another advantage is that I could bounce guidebooks, a keyboard for my phone, and other stuff I wouldn’t bring at all if I had to carry them. So, a bounce box will save me weight, and provide me with extra goodies when I’m in town.
Then I read this article about water treatment: http://www.lightandmatter.com/article/hiking_water.html I’ve put a lot of untreated water through me to no ill effect, so this article was music to my ears. Last week I was thinking of buying a larger water filter. Now, I’m wondering if I want to take a water filter at all. A few drops of bleach is incredibly light, and if that works for the few times I need to treat the water, then maybe that’s the way to go? I guess I’ll start with my Sawyer Squeeze mini and see how it goes. The filter may get bounced a lot!
Then today, gratefully, I came across this blog post: http://www.halfwayanywhere.com/pacific-crest-trail/pacific-crest-trail-plans-useless/ which basically says that planning is useless and you shouldn’t do much of it. Talk about music to my ears! I have been stressing so hard about my California mail drops (I’ll figure out Oregon and Washington when I get to Ashland). I need to figure out what I will want to eat, buy it, pack it, figure out where it needs to go and when to mail it, and give it to someone responsible to mail on the given day, and do it all in the next week! On top of everything else I still need to do! Mac has freed me from this torture. I will put the mail drops together when I get close to where they need to go. Then I will have a much better idea what I’m doing, and what I want to eat (which can change over time).
This has also caused a major change in strategy. Itinerary? Pfft. Whatever. I’ll asses each day at dawn and I will do what seems right at the time. No schedules. No deadlines. I mean, that’s one of the great things about being out there, right? So you can throw your watch and your calendar away and live by the cycles of the sun and stars?
I also like this change in attitude because my foot is still hurting. My Dad (Expedition Medic) suggested riding my mountain bike to increase leg muscles without impacting my feet, and I am going to start doing this. I also put my White’s boots back on for a few days. But my greatest fear is still that I will get injured and have to quit the trail. So, I’m going to start very slowly, take it easy, and see how it goes. I’ll take a little extra food each leg, at least at first, in case I want to add a day. If want to hike faster/farther, that’s great. If it takes me an extra day, hey, that’s great too!
I had planned to leave early and hike fast for a variety of reasons (beat The Herd, beat the heat, beat the fires, beat the snow), but now I plan to focus only on how I feel. I would rather hike small miles and still get to spend the summer walking, even if I didn’t make it to Canada, than go too fast and have to quit in Tehachapi or something. I’ve been pretty athletic most of my life, so I won’t be surprised if I feel pretty good pretty fast, and want to hike big miles, but that’s up to my body, and not two arbitrary lines on a map and a calendar.
So, I guess things are going well. Nevertheless, I’m really looking forward to actually being out there and all this pre-trail stress can just go away. There’s going to be a huge sigh on April 6!
I just hope I don’t have stress dreams about this like I still do about Finals Week. That wasn’t the New Place to Dream I was thinking of!