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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PCT CrayCray

                                                                                                                      PCT @VasquezRocks/iPhone Pano/by Eric

As some of you know (some of whom I've talked with others who have used their superior detective skills on Facebook & Instagram) that I have decided to backpack over 500 miles this year, at one time, on my own.
  Those who know me know that I am an Eagle Scout and have been hiking/backpacking/camping my whole life. That said, although I am not the jackrabbit on the trail, I have always immensely enjoyed life on said trail. I have always wanted to hike the Pacific Crest Trail aka PCT but, like many others out there, never have the 5 to 6 months to hike the 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada! So 500 seemed like a bite size goal for only about 7 weeks.
  I was watching a documentary on the John Muir Trail portion of the PCT (the 229 miles from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney) called "Mile, Mile & A Half" -streaming on Netflix- with about 20 of my Sierra Club friends last year and that got me thinking... again.  Some of you may have seen the movie recently released called "Wild." That did it. So from Christmas 2014 I began training by slowly gaining strength and stamina first by walking (at least 3 miles every day) then hiking and backpacking 6-8 milers at least once a week. So far so good. The other aspect is that we backpackers obsess over pack base weight (the pounds before consumables like food, water and fuel are added) so spending lots of time (mostly while walking) thinking about the gear I own and improvements to be made, always a cost vs weight and need vs want battle. Oh, and I also needed to loose about 30 to 40 lbs of my own 'base weight' haha off my knees and ankles. Again, so far so good.
  Those who know me know I have never been a 'new year's resolution' kinda guy, so like my world traveling adventures, I decided to make an all-out attempt at this beast, new year or not. There is a lot of planning and preparation, from food preparation and food drops (caches or mailed to locations ahead of you on the trail) to permits (the 'Whitney Zone' is a bureaucratic nightmare) that I have mulled over for years.
  From my Mojave Desert home, I join up with the PCT in Big Bear and walk North to the summit of the highest mountain in the lower 48, Mt. Whitney at 14, 505 feet!!!
  I try and not put too much stock on outcomes, or at least I am teaching my self not to, but I hope this will be yet another trip of a lifetime off the preverbal bucket list. And of course I could not do it without the support (in any form) of my friends and family (some of whom have signed up to do a few miles with me). So keep it up and keep me moving... Que gingle.