Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2 Months before start - closer to being "ready"

The "Grizz Bob" Look - my beard is six weeks in the making

In two months time, I will be on the Pacific crest Trail.
Although it doesn't seem like it to me, a lot has happened during this last month.

Picture my brother posted on my Facebook page

First, as you can see in the picture (above), I'm growing a beard! I figured that shaving is just one more thing that I don't want to worry about on the trail. The only thing that bothers me are the little hairs that sneak into my mouth. I keep trying to chew on them!

My brother posted a picture on my Facebook page, calling me "Grizz Bob" (picture to the right).

He might be pretty close to getting it right for my look on the trail!

Food that I am planning to have sent to me

Second, I am almost done packaging my food, a project that consists of 15 boxes with 68 days worth of meals. This is food that my wife, Valorie, is going to send to me while I am on the trail.

For the most part, I hope to buy my food along the way at towns that have adequate groceries. 

Of course, buying along the way has the advantage of saving postage and allowing me to get food that I like. 

The disadvantage is that I am at the mercy of whatever the store has in stock, and it takes more time and planning to get/find the food and pack it up.

I now have all of my gear except for the one rain jacket that I ordered from ZPacks. It should get here sometime in the next week or so. I decided to get their "Challenger" rain jacket which is made from waterproof-breathable cuben fiber material. It is extremely light weight (a big plus on the trail).

My PCT long-distance Permit
I went to REI in Seattle a few weeks ago and got a BV500 bear vault food canister which is required for storing food while hiking between Kennedy Meadows in the south and Sonora Pass in the north in the high Sierras.

I also got a light-weight down jacket (the Ghost Whisperer) made by Mountain Hard Wear, along with (5) pairs of Darn Tough socks, a pair of sun gloves, and a light-weight sun hat. By using my $550 dollars worth of REI gift certificates, I was able to get out of the store by paying just $60!

I now have all of my required permits except for my "entry into Canada" permit, which I applied for about four weeks ago. I should get it in the next week or so.

The US Forest Service in coordination with the PCTA (Pacific Crest Trail Association) has started a quota system this year to regulate the number of through-hiking permits issued for any single day. The limit is (50) hikers leaving the southern terminus at the Mexican border on any one day. The PCTA put together a nice summary page discussing the need and reasons-for the new permit system.

The graph (below) shows when I am leaving (April 16).
As you can see, I am right in the middle of the pack, with many, many others on the trail ahead of me. Hiking "solo" might not be so "solo"!
As February 15, this is the spread of hikers leaving the southern terminus of the PCT. I am in the middle of the "pack"

Here are a few thoughts I had on my morning training hike:

Two months to go until I am on the trail. WOW!
Time is flying by!
I'm excited and worried, but ready to start this adventure!


  1. Good luck! As another "older" hiker who completed last year I will be interested in following you. Oh, and I started on April 16th last year, finished on September 6th, and took 7 zeroes. I wasn't fast, but I was consistent. For my journey I stayed slightly ahead of the herd throughout. Sure some speed demons passed me, but the vast majority didn't. Sometime I felt like I was channeling the tortoise and the hare fable. In any case, enjoy your hike and have a great time meeting the other hikers. Sincerely, Tartan PCT 2014

  2. Tartan,
    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm not sure whether I am going to get trapped in the town "vortex" or not. I think you had the right idea... keep it consistent. However, since I plan on buying a lot of resupplies, the town stops are mandatory. One option I have considered is doing more mail resupplies. That way I could keep on the trail. However, there is a lot to say about a shower, town food, soft bed, and a day to rest.

  3. I resupplied on the go too. In the beginning I would also buy food in one town and mail it on to a later ones. I did that because I could adjust my needs as time passed. Later I was lucky that my wife became chief resupply officer after South Lake Tahoe. I could phone her, ask for things, she'd buy it and send it from home in Austin TX to first Oregon and then Washington. For what it's worth, my resupply towns are here: http://www.1fifoto.com/hiking/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/PCTHikeMailvsBuy.pdf. Hang in there, and you can do this!