Where have I been for this past month or so? Well, where have you been all my life?
Suffice it to say the sunburn on my back from snorkeling has finally faded away and the burn around where my skiing goggles were has died down enough that I am pretty much back to my white, be-freckled self. Since returning to Montana a week or two ago we have weathered a blowing snow storm, persistent winds, and then yesterday, a veritable heat wave with temperatures up to the teens! Today everything is sitting peacefully. The clouds have moved in but were considerate enough to open up a few strips to let the sunrise lighted sky peek through before closing back over to make a gray, quiet day. The snow packed on the roads is happily hardening into sheets of ice and the flags lining the main street of town are hanging still and limp.
Really I have been rather uninteresting for the past week. Or rather, obnoxiously single minded, as I have been working diligently on laying out my PCT itinerary. Some weeks ago I took Warner Springs Monty's (a hiker from the PCT community) advice and ordered a preparation and town guide written by a woman whose trail name is Yogi. I was thrilled to find that she actually heralds from the Kansas City area and have been floored by what an incredible resource her guides have been for my planning. If you intend to hike the PCT or AT I would highly recommend you invest in her product. Reading it has switched up my plans considerably, as have the emails I have been exchanging with others who have already done this.
That being said, I have bought my plane ticket to San Diego! I did sit at the computer with my finger poised above the 'purchase' button for some moments and considered the implications of what I was about to do; then I got so giddy excited that I just punched the button and hurtled around the house dancing and squealing like a girl.
I will be leaving Montana early April and will be back in Kansas City after swinging through Chicago to visit Anna and REI. I will fly out early morning of April 14th and will be staying with two well known and trusted Trail Angels in San Diego for the night. The next morning they will drop me off at the trail head and I will begin to make my way up to my first weeks destination, Warner Springs. From there I will hitch back down to a park some 20 miles from the beginning of the trail and participate in the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off (conveniently referred to as the ADZPCTKO. Catchy isn't it?). Here there will be other thru-hikers of the class of 2010, section hikers, veterans to make presentations on water caches in the desert, snow levels in the Sierra, gear talk, and just general socialization.
My decision to participate in this event is one of the smaller of the changes I have made to my plan. There have also been some changes around hiking partners and such. The biggest change is that instead of breaking it into chunks I am going to shoot for a straight hike. The reason for this is largely the matter of camaraderie. As this is a solo endeavour, everyone I have asked have emphasized the importance of the community on the trail. They all agree that this will help not only with safety, but also will up my odds of completing the trail. This will mean contending with snow and possibly some deep fords, but I will not be alone in doing so.
My current project is using the guide books to mentally walk the trail. I am estimating mileage, noting where there is and is not water, picking resupply points, and setting goals to reach specified points by certain dates. Truly the exercise is an important and helpful one as I will be able to send this itinerary to those people who are planning on coming out and hiking with me. Being as how this is the Internet and you could be just about anybody (even a telemarketer!) I will not be posting the itinerary here but if you are curious just shoot me a message and I would be happy to email you a copy once it is finished. Naturally it is just theoretical and the hike in practice will certainly vary by at least a few days if not a week or more, therefore I will probably revise it from the trail a couple of times so as to be more accurate for those who might meet me higher up on the trail.
When all is said and done, I spend about 3-6 hours a day working on this and about every hour and a half I just get too excited and have to run laps around the house or go outside and shout at the farm animals about how thrilled I am. In fact, these last few nights I have had a hard time sleeping because I just keep thinking about it and laughing. Yes, I may be toeing the line of insanity but I really couldn't care less.
Also, at the advice of Yogi, I am changing my resupply strategy. It is looking like I will be able to make the majority of my resupplies at towns along the trial and will only have to send out maybe 4 or 5 boxes. I will send those to myself from points along the trail, thus putting less of a burden on my parents and better knowing what foods and quantities I will need on the trail. I continue to look into foods' calories and weights as that will play a significant role in my backpack weight.
Aside from that, I can't think of much else to report.
until next time friends!