I am a planner, it’s what I do. But boy…. am I sick of planning! Gear planning, food planning, route and navigation planning…. not to mention 12 hour days at work trying to get things lined up for my time away, trying to get in some miles with my pack on, rehabbing my ankle, and all the things that come with dropping out of ordinary society for 5 months. I’m lucky if i’m getting 4-5 hours sleep a night during the week at the moment. At least a handful of times a day I find myself daydreaming about taking some nice big breathes of fresh air and taking my first steps from the Mexican border, and I know it will all be worth it. I CAN’T WAIT! With just a little over 2 weeks to go now, here’s some updates on what I’ve been up to with trip planning:
I plan, correction, have planned (extensively so) to send myself resupply packages which I will pick up at towns along the trail.
Each will have maps for the upcoming section of trail, food for the upcoming stretch at about 4000 calories a day, new socks every couple of hundred miles and new shoes every 500 miles.
An easy enough task perhaps, but i’m trying to do it at under 2 lbs a day and I want to eat tasty food that has all the nutrients etc that I’ll need to stay healthy while walking an average of 22 miles a day.
Food selection has been a time consuming process on it’s own. Then once I have the product, I create an inventory of it in a spreadsheet recording qty, calories and weight for each item and categorize it under the appropriate meal.
My next step will be to start putting supplies for each trail segment in USPS Priority Mail flat rate boxes.
Gear, Gear, Gear
I love gear, but I’m a little over the search for the perfect item at the lowest weight. I had to laugh at myself at REI last weekend, there I was standing in front of the bear spray pondering the difference between two products. As an aside, the prospect of happening upon a grizzly bear, actually any bear, scares the hell out of me. So there I am looking at bear spray and I figure out that one package is bigger than the other, by 20% in weight and substance… you get 3 more seconds of pepper spray to aim at the Grizzly. I promptly picked the lightest container and continued along my way. Everyone has their moment, that was mine, my first realization that i’d really become a gram junkie… every… little… oz… adds up… and my goal is to carry only what i absolutely need. And 2 extra oz of bear spray didn’t make the cut. Ha! Let’s hope i don’t regret that decision!
While I’m on being a gram junkie, here I am trimming all the borders off my maps so they weigh less:
I’ll post my gear list soon, but it’s coming along really well. I’ve just got my first aid/toiletries left to sort out and i’m set. I should be about 12.5-13 pounds (about 5.5 kg) base pack weight, which I’m really happy about given that this is my first thru hike. Base Pack weight is all carried weight, excluding food, fuel and water. Food adds about 2 lbs/day and water 2 lbs/liter. So I’ll be walking with about 25 lbs (about 11 kg) on my back when I leave each trail town and that weight will drop as i eat through my food supplies. It’s been fun learning about all the lightweight gear. A few cool stats: my headlamp is less than an ounce, my tent just 1 lb, my sleeping bag 1.4 lbs and backpack 1.8 lbs. That’s all pretty light.
Here’s my new home:
My BIG focus the past month or so has been rehabbing my ankle.
Long story short, I’d developed an issue with my ankle stemming from when I sprained it last June. A MASSIVE thank you to Jenn at Pinnacle Performance in Salt Lake who has squeezed me in before her work day normally starts or during her lunch break to get me rehabbed and ready for the trail! She has literally saved my hike. I am forever thankful Jenn! My alignment has drastically improved the past month and things are almost back to normal again, we expect i’ll have a successful thru hike as long as i take some precautions like taping my ankle. I’ve been walking laps around Sugarhouse Park (10 miles around that park gets pretty boring, i don’t recommend it) and in the trails in the hills above Emigration Canyon/ Red Butte/ Capitol area with a 25lb pack, and I’m starting to get in pack shape a little now.
I’ll put in a big weekend of walking again this weekend too. I’m in nowhere near the shape i’d like to be in starting an adventure like this, but i am so very thankful that this ankle got diagnosed and is close to being fixed. I’ll get in trail shape soon enough, I’m just planning to take it a little easy the first couple of weeks on the trail while I do so.
Got lots to do these next couple of weeks, but it’ll all happen, and when it does i’m REALLY looking forward to this adventure starting!!!