Monday, March 16, 2015

One month before start - butterflies in my stomach

Time is flying by as April 16th approaches, the date of the start of my adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail.

I feel like a youngster who is getting ready to drive the car for the first time. I've taken all the lessons. I've passed all of the required tests. I've practiced, and practiced, and practiced some more. Yet it seems there is always more to learn; more questions that remain unanswered. I have butterflies in my stomach!

And soon, it will be time to go and prove that I really can do this!

To me, the biggest challenge will be learning to live in the outdoors. At the end of most days, I will still be in the wilderness and sleeping in the cool of the night. No longer will there be a cozy bed and comfy sofa. No longer will there be easily obtainable water and food. And I will need to adapt to the changes in weather. I suppose all of this is part of the adventure.

Last week, I set up my tent and adjusted the lanyards of the "bathtub" ground sheet. The ground sheet attaches to the inside walls of the tent, and is designed to keep me dry. I have heard that splatter from rain sometimes comes over the sides of the ground sheet if the lanyards are not properly secured. I also decided to get a different set of tent stakes. I currently have titanium stakes that have round-shafts. They are great for holding in dirt, but are not as effective in sandy, rocky or snowy ground. I purchased a set of titanium stakes with a V-shaped shaft.

What I have accomplished since my last post?

  • I now have all of my permits, with the "Entry into Canada" permit arriving two weeks ago. It took four weeks to get the permit.
  • I now have all of my gear. I just got my new rain coat from ZPacks. It is their "Challenger" jacket which is made from a special fabric that is breathable. I have been wearing it on my training hikes for the past week, and it seems to work fairly well in allowing sweat to pass through. It does wet up however, when I am really perspiring, but not as much as my old coat. I walked with it in last weeks rain downpour, and the shell keeps the rain out. 
  • I have gathered together more food. I still need to put together the last boxes that I will need for the hike through Washington state. I got some more Mountain House meals. I found that I can buy a bucket of them from Amazon that includes the three classic meals: Spaghetti with meat sauce, Chili Mac with beef, and Rice with chicken. I also found some Tuna Salad foil packs, that will be good rolled up in a tortilla shell. I stopped at Trader Joes and got some banana chips, candied ginger, and a mixed fruit mix. I heard from a through hiker last year that these taste really good as snacks while hiking.
  • I finally perfected a recipe for brown rice, refried beans and taco meat. I found that if I add a chicken flavored bouillon cube to the water it adds more flavor. I also added butter flavor and Parmesan/Romano cheese. The mix smells and tastes really good.
                    1    Cup Refried beans
                    1/2 Cup Brown Minute Rice
                    1/3 Cup Taco Filling
                    1    Tbsp Parmesan/Romano cheese
                    1    Tbsp Butter flavor (Butter Buds) 
                    1/2 Tsp salt
                    1    Chicken flavor bouillon cube

                    Place everything in a one-gallon zip-lock bag.
                    To prepare, add 1 3/4 cup of water and let set for ten minutes.

                    It is even more tasty if a little cheese is added along with some Fritos corn chips!
  • I have continued walking/training every day. In February, I have averaged 21.6 miles per day. That's over 600 miles in February alone.

As I walk through the woods each morning, I feel like I am a guest just passing through.

A few days ago, I heard a loud squawking coming through the trees. Several crows were dive bombing a hawk, trying to drive it away from their territory. And yet, it seemed to understand that this is just the way life it in the wild.

I noticed that there are birds in the same places each morning. 
Along one stretch of the trail, the red-wing black birds were especially vocal:

And, of course, on some mornings, I get to see Mount Rainier as the sun rises. Just like the picture at the beginning of this post, it is one of the most inspiring sights!
Mt. Rainier captures the morning sunrise.
For those who are interested, I have updated my gear list and provided links to each item.

Oops, the butterflies just jumped again!


  1. I'm excited for you, Dad! This should be a great adventure and I'm looking forward to following along. I hope that we'll be able to get together with you a few times before you leave!

  2. Bob, A few more weeks and your trip begins. Wish you a safe trip will be following your progress. Good luck and be safe. Cindy K(from work)

  3. Thank you Cindy! The "planner" in me is really starting to kick in now. I have just finished my resupply plan and added more details to it. I've upped my training walks and am doing 20 plus miles a day now. My resupply boxes are filled and I have my plane ticket to San Diego and have arranged transportation to the trail. Whew!

    I hope I can blog frequently from the trail and let you know how I am doing.

    Say "hi" to everyone. I trust things are still going well.